West Bengal: India state elections go ahead as deaths hit record high

World

People in the India state of West Benngal are voting in the final phase of elections despite soaring Covid cases.

Long queues were seen outside polling booths, raising concerns about further spread of the virus amidst a deadly second wave.

Experts fear West Bengal could be the next epicentre of the virus, as has campaigning continued there.

As of Thursday, India has reported 379,257 new infections, the world’s highest single-day total.

Cases in West Bengal rose by 17,000 on Wednesday – a record for the state.

The state has already seen seven phases of voting. West Bengal is one of the few where Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not have a majority of parliamentary seats.

There’s been a lot of criticism that he continues to hold large rallies there even as the virus began overwhelming the country.

Some of the rallies, including those attended by Modi, saw throngs of people not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed, oxygen is in critically low supply and crematoriums are operating non-stop.

The overall death toll officially surpassed 200,000 on Wednesday, though experts believe the actual number could be much higher.

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