He also said 1,132 other people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 83,198. The victims in India are the third highest in the world, but experts say India has underestimated the COVID-19 tax.
Infection numbers in India are expected to cross the United States within a few weeks, where more than 6.6 million people have been infected.
On Wednesday, India’s Minister of Roads and Highways Nitin Gadkari became the second top minister after Interior Minister Amit Shah who came out positive. Shah was hospitalized for the second time this week due to COVID-19.
As India’s parliament resumed its sittings after a five-month hiatus, Anand Sharma, Derek OBrien and other opposition leaders criticized Modi for suddenly imposing a two-month blockade across the country on Mars. They said Modi did not give time to state governments to prepare for pandemic treatment and prevent concerns for the millions of migrant workers who left their jobs to return to their village homes.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan defended the government decision and said the blockade blocked up to 3 million additional cases and up to 78,000 deaths.
Nationwide, India is testing more than 1 million samples per day, a dramatic increase made possible by using a faster, cheaper but less accurate testing method. On Wednesday, the New Delhi High Court ordered the government to increase RT-PCR tests, which require the genetic code of the virus, because antigen tests that require viral proteins were only 60% accurate.
Other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
The New Zealand economy shrank by a record 12.2% in the second quarter due to a severe coronavirus blockade, but forecasts show that activity is retreating. The quarterly GDP decline was much larger recorded and signaled that New Zealand was in recession for the first time in 11 years. Economists say the downturn is likely to be followed by a record increase in activity as many businesses return to work. Forecasts released by the Treasury this week predict that unemployment will peak at 7.8%, lower than previous forecasts of almost 10%.
Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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