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The India registered 264,202 cases of coronavirusIn a third wave that has caused a rapid increase in infections and record numbers in New Delhi, while a religious event in which thousands of Hindu devotees are expected to cause concern among experts. The Asian country exceeded the barrier of 250,000 daily cases for the first time in more than seven months, reported the Indian Ministry of Health, raising the infections registered since the beginning of the pandemic to about 36.4 million.

LOOK: India registers about 250,000 coronavirus cases with positivity of 13%

The positivity rate today stood at 14.78%, while just two weeks ago it was 1.1%, marking the rapid increase in cases.

The Asian country has detected 5,753 cases of the omicron variant since the beginning of December, an official number that according to experts does not represent reality.

Among the increase in cases, the permission of the authorities to celebrate today Makar Sankranti, a religious bath in the Ganges River considered auspicious by Hindu devotees in a festival that marks the end of winter and the arrival of longer days.

Among the faithful are those who braved the low temperatures in January with a holy bath on the island of Ganga Sagar, at the mouth of the Ganges in eastern India, joining hundreds of thousands across the country to celebrate the holiday.

Last year, a Hindu religious event in the northern state of Uttarakhand was accused of contributing to the rapid increase in cases at the start of the second wave of the coronavirus.

India became the global epicenter of the pandemic in April and May 2021, during a devastating second wave that brought this nation of 1.35 billion people to a peak of more than 400,000 infections and more than 4,500 deaths daily, saturating the the country’s health infrastructure and causing a shortage of oxygen and hospital beds.

In some cities such as New Delhi, infection numbers have already surpassed records reached during the second wave. The Indian capital registered 28,867 cases of covid-19 yesterday, compared to the maximum of about 25,000 that it reached last May.

However, health authorities have indicated that the rise in cases driven by omicron requires fewer hospitalizations than the delta variant, predominant during the second wave in the country. Thus the Delhi Minister of Health, Satyendar Jain, affirmed yesterday that the hospital occupancy in the capital is still at 15%.

But organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFCR) have nevertheless pointed out that the increase in cases due to the contagious variant could cause a collapse of the health systems in the countries of the South of Asia like the one that India or Nepal already suffered last year.

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