India became the third country to cross four million coronavirus cases on Saturday, also setting a new global record for a daily surge in infections and closing in on Brazil’s total as the second-highest in the world.
The 86,432 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to 4,023,179.
Brazil has confirmed 4,091,801 infections while the United States has 6,200,186 people infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.
India’s health ministry on Saturday also reported 1,089 deaths for a total of 69,561.
Initially, the virus ravaged India’s sprawling and often densely populated cities. It has since stretched to almost every state in India, spreading through villages and smaller cities where access to healthcare is crippled.
With a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, India’s massive caseload does not surprise experts. The country’s delayed response to the virus forced the government to implement a harsh lockdown in late March. For more than two months, the economy remained shuttered, buying time for the underfunded healthcare system to prepare for the worst.
But with the economic cost of the restrictions rising, authorities saw no choice but to reopen activities.