India has become the third country on the globe to register more than one million cases of coronavirus.
The latest figures came Saturday as infections clawed their way into the nation’s countryside.
Considering India’s population of around 1.3 billion, experts say one million is relatively low — but the number will rise significantly in the coming months as testing increases. The new spike in infections, they insist, will further strain a healthcare system already on the brink of collapse.
COVID-19 has surged in the world’s second most populous nation in recent weeks as it spread beyond the biggest cities. As a consequence, India surpassed Russia as the third-most-infected country last week.
Earlier this week, authorities imposed fresh lockdowns and designated new containment zones in several states, including the largely rural Bihar state in the east and the southern tech hub Bengaluru, where cases have spiked.
But officials have struggled to enforce the lockdowns and keep people indoors.
India recorded 34,956 new infections on Friday, taking the total to 1,003,832, with 25,602 deaths from COVID-19, federal health ministry data showed.
These figures, health experts say, are significantly low compared to 3.6 million cases in the US and two million in Brazil, especially given that both countries have less than a third of India’s population.
Nevertheless, they point out that India may only be months away from hitting its peak.