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India Issues Virus Warning Ahead of State Polls

India Issues Virus Warning Ahead of State Polls

Thursday, 22 October, 2020 - 06:00
A face mask is seen on a floor as health ministry staff collect samples for coronavirus testing from residents at an urban area in Bandar Utama, outskirt of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Indian authorities are worried elections in the third-largest state and a religious congregation could spread the coronavirus.

India added fewer than 60,000 new cases for a third day. The Health Ministry reported 55,839 new cases, taking the total past 7.7 million. The 702 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours brought its total fatalities to 116,616 on Thursday.

The Election Commission issued a warning after political campaigning drew large crowds without masks and social distancing in eastern Bihar state where voting for state elections is due to begin next week.

Bihar is India´s third largest state with a population of about 122 million people.

Health officials also are concerned about the potential spread during religious festivals. In West Bengal state, a court limited the size of congregations during the Hindu Durga Puja festival.

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