Asia Today: India's tally surges as restrictions are eased

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A civic worker sprays sanitizers in front of a shop as a woman wearing face mask walks past in Kolkata, India, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. India has the third-highest coronavirus caseload after the United States and Brazil, and the fourth-highest death toll in the world. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

SEOUL – India has registered 78,761 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the worst single-day spike in the world, as the government continues to further ease pandemic restrictions nationwide.

The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 948 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 63,498.

India has now reported more than 75,000 infections for four straight days.

Sunday’s surge has raised the country’s total virus tally to over 3.5 million and comes at a time when India is reopening its subway networks and allowing sports and religious events in a limited manner from next month as part of efforts to revive the economy.

The crowded subway, a lifeline for millions of people in New Delhi, the capital, will be reopened in a phased manner from Sept. 7. Schools and colleges, however, will remain closed until the end of September.

India has the third-highest caseload after the United States and Brazil, and its fatalities are the fourth-highest.

Even as eight Indian states remain among the worst-hit regions and contribute nearly 73% of the total infections, the virus is now spreading fast in the vast hinterlands, with experts warning that the month of September could be the most challenging.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: