India overtakes Brazil as world's second worst-hit country by COVID-19

India overtakes Brazil as world's second worst-hit country by COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai
 People wearing face masks wait in a line at a railway station in Mumbai, India, Apr 11, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas)

NEW DELHI: India reported a record 168,912 COVID-19 infections overnight, data from the health ministry showed on Monday (Apr 12), overtaking Brazil to become the second-most affected country globally by the coronavirus.

India's overall tally reached 13.53 million, surpassing Brazil's 13.45 million cases, according to data compiled by Reuters. The United States led the global tally with 31.2 million cases.

Deaths in India stood at 904, taking the total to 170,179, data showed.

READ: India bans exports of antiviral drug Remdesivir as COVID-19 cases surge

Authorities have blamed the ferocious resurgence of the virus mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks.

Still, religious gatherings have continued and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have themselves addressed election campaigns attended by tens of thousands of people, many without masks and hardly any following social distancing.

The India government is desperate to avoid a hugely unpopular second lockdown but many states are tightening the screws. 

In worst-hit Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai, restaurants are shut and public gatherings of more than five people are banned.

The health ministry said the surge has led to a "spike in demand" for the antiviral drug Remdesivir, forcing the ban on its export despite a World Health Organization-backed study saying it has "little or no effect" on COVID-19 mortality.

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Source: Agencies/zl

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