India Covid-19 cases pass 200,000 - but peak yet to come, say officials

By Sanjay Jha, ITV News, in Delhi

India became the seventh worst-hit country by Covid-19 as cases surpassed 200,000 on Tuesday.

The figure has almost doubled over the past 15 days, meaning India now also has world’s fourth fastest-growing Covid-19 outbreak.

Despite this huge surge in numbers, Indian health officials say the peak is yet to come.

“We are far from a peak of Covid-19 cases. We need to understand the extent of the spread of the disease, instead of talking about community transmission," said Nivedita Gupta, a scientist with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The world’s second-most populous country is now adding more than 7,000 cases every day, only behind the US, Russia and Brazil.

India, on average, has added 7,384 cases daily over the past week - that compares with Brazil’s 21,649, the States' 21,282 and Russia’s 8,700.

A temporary quarantine facility. Credit: PA

The number of coronavirus cases is spiralling and rural areas are becoming new hotbeds. New infections have been reported among the millions of migrants returning to the countryside owing to lockdown in urban areas.

India's health ministry say that 73 per cent of coronavirus deaths in India were from people with underlying health issues.

India’s federal drug regulator has approved the use of Gilead Sciences Inc’s novel drug remdesivir to treat Covid-19 patients in emergency cases.

Remdesivir is the first drug that showed positive results in Covid-19 patients in formal clinical trials.

The drug was granted emergency use authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration last month and has received approval by Japanese health regulators.