First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

India's daily virus infections are world's highest but...

Newsdeck

Newsdeck

India’s daily virus infections are world’s highest but crowds gather for festival

The historic monument Taj Mahal. (Photo by Yawar Nazir / Getty Images)
By Reuters
12 Apr 2021 0

NEW DELHI, April 12 (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees flocked on Monday to take a holy bath in India's Ganges river, even as the nation racked up the world's highest tally of new daily coronavirus infections.

India’s 168,912 daily infections at record

* Worst-hit state of Maharashtra weighs wider lockdown

* Deaths of 904 are highest in more than five months

* Nearly a million Hindu devotees gather for bathing ritual

* (Recasts)

By Neha Arora and Rajendra Jadhav

With 168,912 new cases, India accounts for one in six of all new infections globally, although the figure is still well below the U.S. peak of nearly 300,000 new cases on Jan. 8.

In the northern city of Haridwar, nearly a million devotees thronged the banks of the Ganges, a river many Hindus consider holy, to participate in the months-long ‘Kumbh Mela’ or pitcher festival.

“The crowd here is surging…the police are continuously appealing to people to maintain social distancing,” police official Sanjay Gunjyal told Reuters at the site.

By mid-morning a million people had taken a dip in the river, believed to wash away one’s sins.

As India’s second wave of infections builds, with fewer than 4% estimated to have been vaccinated among a population of 1.4 billion, experts say the situation could have a long way to go before it starts getting better.

“After cases declined in January-February, we were very comfortable,” said a panel of high court judges in the western state of Gujarat, calling on authorities to take urgent steps to rein in the outbreak.

“Almost everyone forgot that there was ever corona,” added the panel, headed by Chief Justice Vikram Nath.

A full opening of the economy from last year’s crippling lockdown, coupled with the mass religious festivals and political rallies in states heading to elections have fuelled the crisis.

Monday’s new infections carried India past Brazil for a tally of 13.53 million, data compiled by Reuters shows, ranking it the second-most infected country after the United States, with 31.2 million.

TALLY FEARED TO DOUBLE IN TWO MONTHS

India’s tally is on course to double in two months, according to estimates based on data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Yet authorities appeared unwilling or unable to stop events that could lead to a calamitous spread of the disease.

Thousands of people are attending political rallies in four big states set for elections this month, including two events on Monday in the eastern state of West Bengal, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to speak.

“With 1.2 million active cases, and the daily number reaching 200,000, it’s bizarre to have poll rallies and a full Kumbh Mela,” political commentator Shekhar Gupta said on Twitter.

Officials and experts said authorities had underestimated the resilience of the virus, believing they had beaten it after daily cases fell below 10,000 in early February.

Officials in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, said they were considering a broader lockdown this week after large closures at the weekend.

“It is necessary to break the cycle (of infections),” said a senior state official who sought anonymity. “We are working on identifying industries and services that need to be exempted.”

The rupee fell to its lowest in nearly eight months and Mumbai’s benchmark index tanked as much as 3.7% in the worst session in more than six weeks.

India’s economy has been limping back to recovery after last year’s hard lockdown caused the deepest contraction in decades.

(Global vaccination tracker: https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/vaccination-rollout-and-access/)

(Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/)

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav, Saurabh Sharma, Sumit Khanna; Additional reporting by Suchitra Mohanty and Rama Venkat; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Clarence Fernandez)

Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted