NEW DELHI • The health minister of Delhi’s state government was hospitalised yesterday and being tested for coronavirus as India reported more than 10,500 new infections that are threatening to overwhelm its hospitals.
India has reopened businesses, public transport and malls to resuscitate a battered economy but the ending of a nearly 70-day lockdown has come just as cases are rising at their fastest daily levels.
The total number of cases was 343,091, the world’s fourth most after the United States, Brazil and Russia, health ministry data showed.
At least 9,900 people have died, far fewer than in the US and Brazil, but more than Russia.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who initially won praise for imposing a vast lockdown on India’s 1.3 billion population early on in the pandemic, met state chief ministers in a video conference to discuss ways to deal with the surge in cases.
The big cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai are the worst affected.
“Due to high-grade fever and a sudden drop of my oxygen levels last night I have been admitted to RGSSH (Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital). Will keep everyone updated,” Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain tweeted. The results were expected late yesterday.
Several officials from the finance, foreign affairs and law departments – based in Delhi – have tested positive in the past few weeks. Most have been working in offices from the start of the crisis.
Mr Jain was at a meeting on Sunday together with federal Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. It is not known if Mr Shah, seen as the most powerful member of the Cabinet after Mr Modi, was going to get tested. Mr Kejriwal had tested negative earlier in the month.