India reported 53,601 new coronavirus cases Tuesday as its total infections neared 2.3 million, reports AP.
The health ministry said 871 patients have died, raising total fatalities to 45,257.
India has been posting an average of around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June. Its total infections are third in the world, behind the US and Brazil.
These three countries account for half of the world's 20 million cases. The true numbers are thought to be much higher because of factors including low testing and the possibility the virus can be spread by people who don't have symptoms.
The Indian Council of Medical Research, India’s top medical research body, said nearly 25 million samples have been tested.
Health experts, however, say the country needs to test more people given its big population.
Read Also: COVID-19 cases top 20 mln: JHU
A country of 1.4 billion people, India has been conducting a little less than 18,000 tests per million population.
Global COVID-19 cases have surpassed 20 million according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, who had tested positive for Covid-19 , has successfully undergone surgery to remove a clot in his brain.
Mr Mukherjee, 84, is on ventilator support at the Army Hospital Research and Referral in Delhi, according to Indian media.
In a tweet this morning Mr Mukherjee, who was President between 2012 and 2017, urged all those who had come in contact with him over the past week to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.
"On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive for COVID19 today. I request the people who came in contact with me in the last week, to please self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19," he wrote.
The former president had cancelled all his engagements and stopped going out for public functions in the last few months.
As the news spread, leaders, cutting across party lines, wished him a quick recovery.
In the wake of coronavirus epidemic, the government had asked all senior citizens (above the age of 65) to stay home.
Mukherjee, who was president between 2012 and 2017, was invited for the at home programme at Rashtrapati Bhavan, which he will not be attending in the wake of this development.
Last year, Mukherjee, a veteran Congress leader with stints in the Indira Gandhi cabinet as well, was awarded the Bharat Ratna - the country’s highest civilian award.
Meanwhile, India registered 1,007 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s total tally to 44,386 on Monday.
Besides, the fresh coronavirus infections surged by another 62,064 cases, the Health Ministry said, according to an AP report.
Also read: India sees 1,007 coronavirus deaths in 24hr
So far, the country has reported 2,215,074 positive cases. At least 634,935 patients are undergoing treatment.
India has the third-highest caseload in the world after the US and Brazil. It has the fifth-most deaths but its fatality rate of about 2 percent is far lower than the top two hardest-hit countries.
India registered 1,007 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s total tally to 44,386 on Monday.
Besides, the fresh coronavirus infections surged by another 62,064 cases, the Health Ministry said, reports AP.
So far, the country has reported 2,215,074 positive cases. At least 634,935 patients are still undergoing treatment.
India has recorded more than 60,000 cases of the virus daily in the last four days – more infections than any other country in the world for six consecutive days. It has averaged around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June.
Infections in India remain concentrated in 10 states that contribute nearly 80 percent of the new cases.
India has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil. It has the fifth-most deaths but its fatality rate of about 2 percent is far lower than the top two hardest-hit countries.
There are now over 19.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, with more than 729,000 fatalities and 12 million recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the prime minister for the fourth time Sunday.
His party secured a landslide victory in parliamentary elections that cemented his family’s hold on power, reports AP.
Rajapaksa took oath before his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at a prominent Buddhist temple on the outskirts of the capital Colombo.
Mahinda Rajapaksa served as the island nation’s president from 2005 to 2015 and is highly popular among the ethnic majority Sinhalese for ending the country’s 25-year civil war against Tamil rebels in 2009.
He was first elected prime minister in 2004 and again appointed for brief periods in 2018 and 2019.
Sri Lanka People’s Front — the party led by the Rajapaksa brothers — won 145 seats in the 225-member Parliament in the election last Wednesday. Its main opponent obtained only 54 seats. A party representing ethnic minority Tamils won 10 seats, and 16 others were split among 12 small parties.
The victory gave the Rajapaksa brothers nearly the two-third majority of seats required to make constitutional changes that could strengthen dynastic rule in the country.
This time, five members of the Rajapaksa family have been elected as lawmakers— Rajapaksa, his son Namal, the eldest brother Chamal and his son Sashindra, and a nephew, Nipuna Ranawaka.
The brothers need 150 seats to be able to change the constitution. At least four small parties collaborate with the Rajapaksas’ party, so they appear to have mustered that support.
However, analysts say any attempt by Gotabaya Rajapaksa to push for changes that will strengthen presidential powers at the expense of the prime minister may trigger sibling rivalry.
Sri Lanka had been ruled by powerful executive presidents since 1978. But a 2015 constitutional amendment strengthened Parliament and the prime minister and put independent commissions in charge of judiciary appointments, police, public services and the conduct of elections.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected president last November after projecting himself as the only leader who could secure the country after the Islamic State-inspired bombings of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday that killed 269 people. Since being elected, he has said he had to work under many restrictions because of the constitutional changes.
However, Mahinda Rajapaksa is unlikely to cede any of his powers that might shrink his influence as he works on promoting his son Namal as heir. Namal and three other members of the family are likely to control key functions in the new administration.
The landslide victory also raises fears of weakening government institutions such as independent commissions.
At least 17 people, including the pilot, have been killed as a passenger plane of Air India Express crashed after it skidded off the runway at Kozhikode Calicut International Airport in the southern state of Kerala on Friday night.
Flight IX-1344, arriving from Dubai, broke into two pieces following the crash. Seventeen deaths have so far been confirmed from the accident, reports NDTV.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the incident took place at 7:44 pm when the Boeing-737 aircraft flight landed at the airport amid heavy rain.
It overshot the runway, fell down into a valley and broke into two, the DGCA said, adding that no fire was reported at the time of landing.
The airline authority said there were 184 passengers including 10 children and six crew members on the flight.
The Indian authority said all the passengers were evacuated after a nearly three hour operation and at least 112 injured were taken to hospital.
The flight was part of the Vande Bharat programme that has been bringing back Indians from abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over loss of lives due to the plane accident in Kozhikode.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said, "Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. Spoke to Kerala CM @vijayanpinarayi Ji regarding the situation. Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected."
Congress President Rahul Gandhi also expressed shock at the accident and extended condolence to bereaved family members.
He said "Shocked at the devastating news of the plane mishap in Kozhikode. Deepest condolences to the friends and family of those who died in this accident. Prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured."
Meanwhile, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran told UNB that it was an evacuation flight for Indian nationals.
“It is unlikely that any Bangladeshi was among the passengers. We are following up the developments," he added.
A similar tragedy to Friday’s was narrowly avoided at the same airport a year ago, when an Air India Express flight suffered a tail strike upon landing, reports AP.
None of the 180 passengers of that flight were injured.
Kozhikode’s 2,850-meter (9,350-foot) runway is on a flat hilltop with deep gorges on either side ending in a 34-meter (112-foot) drop.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S. Puri said in a statement that the flight “overshot the runway in rainy conditions and went down” the slope, breaking into two pieces upon impact.
An inquiry will be conducted by the ministry’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, he said.
The airport’s runway end safety area was expanded in 2018 to accommodate wide-body aircraft.
The runway end safety area meets United Nations international civil aviation requirements, but the U.N. agency recommends a buffer that is 150 meters (492 feet) longer than what exists at Kozhikode airport, according to Harro Ranter, chief executive of the Aviation Safety Network online database.
Dubai-based aviation consultant Mark Martin said that while it was too early to determine the cause of the crash, annual monsoon conditions appeared to be a factor.
“Low visibility, wet runway, low cloud base, all leading to very poor braking action is what looks like led to where we are at the moment with this crash,” Martin said, calling for the European Aviation Safety Agency and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to assist with the Indian government’s investigation.
The Air India Express flight was part of the Indian government’s special repatriation mission to bring Indian citizens back to the country, officials said. All of the passengers were returning from the Gulf region, authorities said. Regular commercial flights have been halted in India because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The worst air disaster in India was on Nov. 12, 1996, when a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight collided midair with a Kazakhastan Airlines Flight near Charki Dadri in Haryana state, killing all 349 on board the two planes.
Earlier on the day, Kerala saw 15 deaths from landslides in Idukki district, triggered by heavy downfall.
Around 50 others are still feared trapped in debris.