India is breaking its own global records for daily cases, and now it has edged ahead of Mexico in a race no country wants to win: the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus.
India, a nation of 1.3 billion people, has the world’s third-highest death toll at 64,469, according to a New York Times database, behind only the United States and Brazil. (Mexico is just over 300 behind at 64,158.) And with India’s new cases exceeding 75,000 for the past five days, the virus doesn’t seem to be loosening its grip.
The steep rise in cases, which officials say is partly explained by an increase in testing, comes as India continues to ease restrictions after one of the world’s most severe lockdowns this spring. Decisions on reopening are being driven in part by economic concerns: The Indian economy shrank by nearly 24 percent in the second quarter, the government reported on Monday, a much bigger contraction than in any other major country, including the United States.
In New Delhi, the capital, the subway will start reopening on Sept. 7, officials said Saturday.
“This is good news,” said Anuradha Raman, a college student in New Delhi. “But people are also scared, because we don’t follow social distance guidelines here.”
Arvind Kejriwal, New Delhi’s chief minister, said he was glad the subway, which is used by 2.6 million commuters a day, was resuming service. But the capital also recorded more than 2,000 new cases on Sunday, its largest daily tally in 51 days.
It was not clear whether subways in other cities would also resume service.
While sports events and religious festivals have been allowed with restrictions on attendance, the country’s schools will remain closed until the end of September. The suspension of scheduled international flights has also been extended until then, the Indian civil aviation authorities said on Monday.
Also in India on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi confirmed the death of Pranab Mukherjee, a politician who rose to high office alongside one of the country’s longest-serving prime ministers, Indira Gandhi. He was 84. Before undergoing brain surgery in recent weeks, Mr. Mukherjee announced on Twitter that he had also tested positive for the coronavirus. He was later put on a ventilator and fell into a coma, according to doctors who were treating him at a military hospital.