World

India's coronavirus cases could be 10 times more than official figures

NEW DELHI India's coronavirus case tally surged to 6.23 million after it yesterday reported 80,472 new infections in the last 24 hours. Deaths from coronavirus infections rose to 97,497.

But the country's lead pandemic agency said the number of people infected could be 10 times more.

More than 60 million of India's 1.3 billion people could have been infected, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Tuesday.

It cited a nationwide serological survey - a study testing blood for certain antibodies to estimate the proportion of a population that has fought off the virus.

"The main conclusions from this sero-survey are that one in 15 individuals aged more than 10 years have been exposed to Sars-CoV-2 by August," ICMR director-general Balram Bhargava said at a health ministry press conference.

Professor Bhargava said evidence of virus exposure was more prevalent among people tested in urban slums (15.6 per cent) and non-slum urban areas (8.2 per cent), than in rural areas, where 4.4 per cent of those surveyed had antibodies.

The blood tests were collected from about 29,000 people in 21 states or territories between mid-August and last month.

The new figures are a sharp jump from the first sero-survey results, which ICMR said showed that around 0.73 per cent of adults in India - about six million people - were infected by May. - AFP, REUTERS

WORLD