Medical workers in India try to stabilise a Coronavirus patient

India on Thursday hit a new milestone as it crossed the 8-million mark in coronavirus cases, the latest Health Ministry data showed.

This makes India the second country reach 8 million cases after the United States did so earlier this month.

The country logged 49,881 new cases since Wednesday taking its total to 8,040,203, according to the ministry’s website.

There were 517 fatalities connected to the virus in the same period bringing the total death toll to 120,507, the world’s third highest after the US’ and Brazil’s.

Virus spread has shown distinct signs of slowing down with the last one million infections coming in 18 days, compared with the previous million when the tally rose from 6 million to 7 million in just 13 days.

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On Tuesday, India recorded 36,470 new infections, its lowest single-day increase since July 18, when 34,884 cases were reported.

The number of new cases rose steeply in India between June and September as the country emerged from a strict lockdown and started opening up various sectors of the economy.

But the average number of daily infections has been declining over the past five weeks, in what the Health Ministry characterized as “a landmark achievement.”

A government-appointed panel of scientists recently said that India may have peaked in mid-September and the virus could run out its course by February.

But independent scientists have warned that there could be fresh surges like in Europe, particularly as the festival season ends and winter sets in.

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