India virus cases pass 9m; capital’s hospitals under strain

NEW DELHI: Intensive care wards in New Delhi’s hospitals are nearly at capacity, and the city’s main crematorium is packed, as the coronavirus has surged in the Indian capital and the country hit a grim milestone Friday, recording 9 million infections.

While the pace of recorded new cases overall in the country of 1.3 billion appears to be slowing, experts have cautioned that official figures may be offering false hope since many infections may be going undetected. In New Delhi, meanwhile, the disease is on the rise, and health officials found this week that the prevalence of infections in markets was much higher than expected, and the city has added an average of 6,700 new cases each day in recent weeks.

Despite that, markets are still full there and in other major cities, as fatigue with wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance from others set in during the recent festival season, including celebrations for the Diwali holiday. Experts worry that get-togethers for the festival of light will yield yet another surge in cases in the coming weeks. - AP