NEW DELHI (AP) — India recorded nearly 87,000 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours as it edged closer to the United States in having the most reported cases in the world.
The Health Ministry also Monday reported 1,130 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total reported fatalities to 87,882.
India now has over 5.4 million reported cases, and the nation of 1.3 billion people is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States, which has 6.8 million.
Over 60% of the active cases are concentrated in five of 28 Indian states, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh and experts are worried about surges in smaller cities and villages, where access to healthcare is patchy.
India’s economy contracted nearly 24% in the second quarter, the worst among the world’s top economies. To offset the economic crisis, the government has been relaxing virus restrictions despite the surging cases.
The 17th century, white marble Taj Mahal reopened for national and international tourists Monday after a gap of six months. Wearing masks is compulsory, and thermal screening and physical distancing are among other virus restrictions being used.