India has recorded more than 2 million total coronavirus cases, only three weeks after announcing it had hit 1 million confirmed infections, as the country’s healthcare systems buckle under the pressure of the escalating pandemic. The rising caseload sees India become only the third country to report more than 2 million cases, behind the United States — which has seen nearly 4.9 million cases — and Brazil, which has recorded more than 2.9 million.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone Wednesday for a Hindu temple on a contentious site where a 16th century mosque once stood, a historic move that meets a decades-long political promise as the pandemic slams the economy. India’s Supreme Court in November handed over ownership of the area to Hindus after decades of bitter dispute highlighted by deadly riots in the 1990s.
About 4 million people have been displaced in South Asia due to flooding caused by heavy monsoon rains. At least 189 people have died and dozens are missing in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, officials said. In the northeastern Indian state of Assam, over 2.75 million people have been displaced by three waves of floods since May, according to a state government official.
India now has more than one million coronavirus cases – the third highest infection rate in the world behind the United States and Brazil. It comes after India lifted its lockdown of 1.3bn residents last month. The country has reported 25,602 virus deaths, according to its health ministry, which is the eighth highest death toll in the world.
Six more people have died in floods and mudslides in northeastern India’s Assam state, officials said Tuesday, taking the death toll to 77 from more than two weeks of heavy rains that caused one of Asia’s largest rivers to overflow. The Brahmaputra River continued to wreak havoc, displacing more than 2 million people, the officials said. Vast tracts were still underwater with 26 of the state’s 33 districts badly affected.
India is banning TikTok and several other well-known Chinese apps, saying they pose a “threat to sovereignty and integrity,” in the latest indication of escalating tensions between the two countries. India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement Monday that it had received many complaints about misuse and transmission of user data by some mobile apps to servers outside India.
At least 107 people have died from lightning strikes in northern and eastern India, officials said, during the early stages of the annual monsoon season. Some 83 people were killed in the impoverished eastern state of Bihar after being struck by lightning, and another 24 died in northern Uttar Pradesh state. Dozens more were injured, officials said. Lightning strikes during the June-September annual monsoon are fairly common in India.
China has freed 10 Indian soldiers seized in a high-altitude border clash in the Himalayas which left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead, media reports said on Friday. The release follows several rounds of talks between the two sides in a bid to ease tensions after the battle on Monday, in which scores of troops from the two sides fought with nail-studded batons and hurled rocks at each other.
India’s prime minister has promised a “fitting reply” to China following the death of 20 Indian army soldiers in violent clashes on the Himalayan border. “India wants peace but when provoked, it is capable of giving a fitting reply be it any kind of situation” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on national television, referring to the clashes.
A cyclone is lashing areas on India’s west coast after making landfall near the densely populated city of Mumbai. The eye of Cyclone Nisarga narrowly missed the megacity as it slammed into Maharashtra state. There are warnings it may trigger big storm surges. India’s most populous city has 20 million residents and has also been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.