Written bySiddhant Pandey
Till mid-May, India had reported a little over 1 lakh COVID-19 cases. The tally has now surpassed 5 lakh, i.e., in just a period of 39 days, India has added 4 lakh cases.
Experts said that the rapid surge in the number of cases is due to the lockdown being eased and also an increased testing rate.
Here's how it happened.
India had reported its first COVID-19 case from Kerala on January 30.
After 110 days, the number of cases had reached 1 lakh by May 19. At the time, India was under the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown.
The lockdown was first imposed on March 25 and had been extended in four phases till May 31.
Since hitting the 1 lakh-mark, it took India a fortnight to cross 2 lakh cases by June 3. Thereafter, it took 10 days to reach the 3 lakh-mark, and another eight days to reach 4 lakh cases.
On Saturday, India reported a total of 5,08,953 COVID-19 cases, with an uptick of a record 18,552 single-day cases.
India is now the world's fourth worst-hit country.
The spike comes as India is under the first phase of "unlocking" out of the coronavirus lockdown. As part of "Unlock 1.0," the lockdown is only restricted to containment zones across the country till June 30.
Dr. Monica Mahajan— Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare—told PTI that the cases are spiking due to the high reproduction number of the coronavirus.
She said the lifting of lockdown norms has also led to a behavioral change wherein people are not acting as responsibly in terms of physical distancing.
She also said the price of tests has dipped, leading to a rise in testing.
Speaking to PTI, noted Delhi-based lung surgeon Dr. Arvind Kumar also attributed the rise in cases to an increase in testing.
Kumar, who works at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, the percentage of people testing positive among those who are tested is also high, due to the lockdown restrictions being lifted.
Kumar also said that people have now forgotten about physical distancing norms.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India has tested a total of 79,96,707 samples by Friday.
On Friday alone, 2,20,479 samples were tested, the highest in a day since the beginning of the pandemic.
When the lockdown started, only 100 laboratories were testing for COVID-19. Now, the ICMR has validated 1,007 diagnostic labs—including 734 government labs and 273 private labs.
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