India's coronavirus cases surpass 1.5 million mark
NEW DELHI, Kyodo - India said Wednesday its confirmed coronavirus cases have exceeded 1.5 million, with over half a million cases added in the past 12 days.
Besides racking up 1,531,669 cases in total, the country also reported 34,193 deaths to date, according to the health ministry.
On July 6, India became the country with the third-highest number of COVID-19 infections, overtaking Russia. The United States has the world's highest number of confirmed cases with 4.3 million, while Brazil has seen 2.4 million infections.
Despite the upsurge in cases in the world's second-most populous country, the ministry has been pointing out that the recovery rate has continued to improve, from around 53 percent in mid-June to more than 64 percent as of now.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday in that respect, India "is in a much more stable position than other countries."
His government had imposed a countrywide lockdown from late March to the end of May, but it was gradually lifted from June, with corporate offices, large shopping malls and domestic flights resuming operations.
About 49 percent of the total confirmed cases are concentrated in three regions: the western state of Maharashtra, which has the commercial city of Mumbai, the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which has the southern city of Chennai, and the Delhi metropolitan area, which includes the capital New Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Indian ministry of home affairs unveiled its third set of guidelines Wednesday, lifting the coronavirus-related restrictions further.
The new guidelines removed the night curfew which had been in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The ministry also asserted that the designated COVID-19 containment zones would remain under lockdown until Aug. 31.
While schools, colleges and other educational institutions have been ordered to remain closed until August 31, yoga institutes and gymnasiums will be allowed to function from Aug. 5 following standard operating procedures issued by the ministry of health and family welfare. (Kyodo)