An Indian resident having his temperature checked by a health professional.
Satyabrata Tripathy/Hindustan Times/Getty
India recorded tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, raising the country’s total number past Russia’s as the third-largest in the world.
The country has recorded nearly 700,000 cases despite strict lockdowns imposed from March to May.
A lack of testing and external factors preventing social distancing among the population of 1.3 billion are thought to be to blame as some cities are preparing to impose lockdowns again.
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India recorded just shy of 24,000 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising its total to 697,836, according to Worldometer data.
A similar surge was reported one day earlier, as 24,015 new cases were recorded Saturday, according to Worldometer data. The new data brought country’s total case count ahead ahead of Russia’s 681,251 and placed it third in the world behind the US and Brazil for total confirmed cases.
New Delhi, India’s capital, leads the country in new COVID-19 cases, according to the BBC. Last week, the outlet reported that the capital city was the country’s largest hot spot, with nearly 80,000 cases.
Why hasn’t India been able to get a grip on coronavirus
India’s rising case counts are not for lack of trying to contain the spread, according to The Guardian, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi instituted strict lockdown measures and has expressed consistent social-distancing messages since the lockdowns began in March. The country exited a two-month lockdown at the end of May only to find that it didn’t succeed in flattening any curve, however, The Washington Post reported.
Modi has already stated his opposition to another national lockdown, according to NPR, but some cities are preparing to reenter lockdown in 10-day increments. India Today reports that cities surrounding Mumbai will, once again, be forced into lockdown with exemptions only for workers deemed essential.
India is the world’s most populous country, with over 1.3 billion people — more than triple the US population. As The Guardian reports, testing facilities couldn’t keep up with demand, with a single testing lab in one area meant to serve 30 million people.
While attempting to fight off the coronavirus, India has also been suffering through a heat wave that has worsened the crisis as residents struggle with staying at home, according to the Associated Press. Temperatures soared to nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit in New Delhi in late May, making mask wearing unbearable to some and social distancing harder to maintain.
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