NEW DELHI — India reported 62,212 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to more than 7.4 million and continuing a downward trend.
The Health Ministry on Saturday also registered 837 additional fatalities, taking the death toll to 112,998.
The worst-hit western Maharashtra state accounted for nearly 36% of total fatalities.
According to the Health Ministry, India’s average number of daily cases dropped to 72,576 last week from 92,830 during the week of Sept. 9-15, when the virus peaked. It is recording an average of around 70,000 cases daily so far this month.
But some experts say India’s figures may not be reliable because of poor reporting and inadequate health infrastructure. India is also relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.
Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told reporters on Friday that the next two months were particularly crucial because of the winter season and festivals.
New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Virus surges in key battleground states as election nears
— White House puts ‘politicals’ at CDC to try to control info
— UK’s Johnson threatens to impose restrictions on Manchester
— Belgium will tighten coronavirus restrictions from Monday in an effort to hold the disease in check. The new measures include a night-time curfew and the closure of cafes, bars and restaurants for a month.
— Doctors are warning that Europe is at a turning point as the coronavirus surges back across the continent, including among vulnerable people, and governments try to impose restrictions without locking whole economies down.
— Hundreds of Argentine flags dotted the sand of a beach at the Mar del Plata resort, a poignant memorial to the victims of the novel coronavirus in one of this South American country’s virus hot spots.
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s Victoria state has reported just one new case of COVID-19 and no deaths as the city of Melbourne moves closer towards the easing of some lifestyle restrictions.
The state’s coronavirus death toll remains at 816 and the Australian total is 904.
Melbourne residents are expecting COVID-19 restrictions to be eased on Sunday but it is unclear how much freedom will be regained.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated the changes would be more “in the social space,” prompting pleas from business operators for relief from restrictions that once included an overnight curfew.
Current restrictions include a two-hour exercise limit within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of work or home and mandatory face masks covering the mouth and nose when a person leaves their home.
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority reported 418 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases and six