India’s daily coronavirus tally tops 50,000 mark for the first time

India’s daily coronavirus tally climbed by over 52,123 new cases in the previous 24 hours, according to federal health data, taking the total number of infections to almost 1.6 million.

775 people died during the same period, raising total deaths now just under 35,000.

The infection rate in big cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi have eased a bit, but infections in rural areas are continuing to rise sharply, alarming experts who fear weak healthcare systems there will be unable to cope.

India has the third highest number of infections globally, behind the United States and Brazil. It has nearly twenty times the number of cases as China, which has a similar-sized population and where the virus was first recorded late last year.

Separately, New Delhi announced the third phase of easing restrictions that had been aimed at preventing the spread of the virus. An evening curfew will be lifted from August 1, and gyms will be allowed to open, but schools, cinemas, and bars will remain closed.

The restrictions, which included an almost total shutdown of the country for nearly three months, have hurt small businesses in what is still predominantly a low-income country.