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India's COVID cases top 5 million as it narrows gap with US

Asia's third-largest economy slowly reopens but struggles to impose safety rules

People wearing face masks stand in line to enter a metro station amid the coronavirus pandemic in New Delhi on Sept. 14.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- India, the world's second worst-hit country by the coronavirus pandemic after the U.S., on Wednesday crossed another grim milestone by surpassing five million total COVID-19 cases, less than two weeks after exceeding the four million-mark.

The country, which reported its first case on Jan. 30, has now become the global COVID-19 hot spot with the fastest growing caseload. India's health ministry said in its latest update that the country's tally jumped to 5.02 million after 90,123 new infections were reported in the past 24 hours. The death toll, meanwhile, reached 82,066 on 1,290 new fatalities, the biggest single-day spike.

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