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India’s virus cases top 6m amid concerns over festivals, polls



The number of COVID-19 cases in India topped 6 million on Monday amid concerns over the country’s upcoming religious festival and polls in a populous state.

“India’s total count of COVID-19 cases stands at 6,074,703,’’ the federal Health Ministry said on Monday, with a spike of 82,170 cases in the past 24 hours.

The death toll rose to 95,542 after 1,039 deaths were recorded.

“The pandemic is spreading faster in India than anywhere else in the world.

“But in a respite, the seven-day average of new cases declined for nine days till Sept. 26,’’ the Times of India reported, citing data from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

India is set to become the country worst-hit by the pandemic by next month, overtaking the U.S., where over 7 million infections have been reported.

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Authorities and doctors have warned about two key events in India in October, the beginning of the Hindu religious festival that sees large congregations and busy markets as well as elections in Bihar state that has some 72 million voters.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan meanwhile cautioned Indians against complacency, adding that India was still far away from achieving herd immunity.

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He was citing a soon-to-be-released serological survey and asked Indians to strictly follow precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to Johns Hopkins University Globally, COVID-19 has infected more than 32.9 million people and killed almost 1 million people.