India's coronavirus cases cross six million mark
It is on track to overtake the US as most infected country within weeks
NEW DELHI: India reported its six millionth coronavirus case yesterday as it surged closer to the US as the most infected nation, and authorities pressed ahead with reigniting the economy.
The vast nation, home to 1.3 billion people, has reported around 90,000 new cases daily - the highest in the world.
There were 82,000 cases yesterday, taking the total to 6.1 million and closing the gap on the US, which has recorded 7.1 million infections. India could leapfrog it in the coming weeks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on people to keep wearing face coverings when they venture outside of their homes.
"These rules are weapons in the war against (the coronavirus). They are potent tools to save the life of every citizen," Mr Modi said during his monthly radio address on Sunday.
The virus initially hit major metropolises including financial hub Mumbai and capital New Delhi, but has since spread to regional and rural areas where healthcare systems are even more fragile and patchy.
"In several of the pockets where the transmission is active, the infection has gone into the community," former national health secretary Sujatha Rao told AFP.
DIFFICULT TO CONTROL
"It is difficult to control transmission in such situations and a dramatic turnaround can perhaps be possible only through a rigorous implementation of a lockdown and preventive measures like mask wearing."
Meanwhile, Malaysia yesterday said it will impose strict movement restrictions in four districts in Sabah after reporting more than 1,000 infections there this month, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
Non-essential businesses in the Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kunak and Semporna districts will be required to shut down starting today for a period of 14 days.
Malaysia reported 115 cases yesterday, making it another day of three-digit increases. The death toll remains at 134.
Indonesia reported 3,509 cases yesterday, taking its total to 278,722.
There were also 87 deaths, taking the total to 10,473, the biggest death toll in South-east Asia.
The Philippines reported 3,073 more cases and 37 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 307,288 cases and 5,381 deaths. - AFP, REUTERS, THE STAR