UPDATE 1-Indian Parliament meets after six months as COVID cases rise

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(Add details on parliamentary session)

By Nigam Prusty

NEW DELHI, September 14 (Reuters) – India’s parliament convened for the first time in six months on Monday, as new coronavirus cases across the country increased by more than 90,000 in a day and that the total number of infections has approached 5 million.

Members, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wore masks and sat in seats surrounded by glass partitions designed to prevent the spread of the virus.

The hours of the assembly were truncated; the lower house will sit in the morning and the upper house in the afternoon.

“There can be no laxity when there is no medicine. We hope that a vaccine will be available soon, no matter what region of the world it is from,” Modi said in remarks to the media. before the start of the session.

Federal Interior Minister Amit Shah, a close collaborator of Modi, was absent from Monday’s session. He spent most of August in hospital after contracting the virus and returned to hospital over the weekend for what hospital officials called a check-up.

Infections in India have increased faster than any other country and only lag behind the United States in total infections.

On Monday, the health ministry said it had registered 92,071 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 4.85 million.

Deaths have been relatively small compared to the number of infections, but the rate is increasing. More than 1,100 people have died from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, the ministry said, bringing the total number of deaths to 79,722.

(Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Alasdair Pal and Kevin Liffey)

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