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AP PHOTOS: India fights virus as cases near 1 million

An Indian lift operator stands inside a dedicated lift for people suspected to have the coronavirus at the Government Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, In...
Indian social activists distribute masks to pedestrians at the landmark Charminar in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, March 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar...
Indian workers make face masks which are in demand due to the coronavirus at a private manufacturing unit in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (...
A passenger climbs the stairs of a fairly empty Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus train station during the coronavirus outbreak in Mumbai, India, T...
Srinagar Municipal Corporation staff travel in a vehicle after spraying disinfectants in a tourist area as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 in...
People clap from balconies in show of appreciation to health care workers at a Chawl in Mumbai, India, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool...
A family, wearing face masks as a precaution from coronavirus, pray inside their house marking the start of Navratri festival, where Hindu fast for ni...
Children wearing face masks amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, return home after learning that public gatherings and schools are shut f...
A Kashmiri woman wearing protective mask watches through a window of her house as an Indian policeman makes markings for people to maintain social dis...
Catholic devotees offer prayers at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Good Friday, during a lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus in Hyderabad,...
Mina Ramesh Jakhawadiya, center, tells her son Ritik Ramesh, left, not to go out and play because of the coronavirus and be in the house in Mumbai, In...
Balconies are illuminated with candles and torches to mark the country's fight against COVID-19 in Greater Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, April ...
A doctor checks the temperature of a girl in Dharavi, one of Asia's largest slums, during lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Mumbai,...
An Indian homeless man sits in a bus as he is being evicted with other homeless people and migrant laborers from the banks of Yamuna River where they ...
Muslim priests break the fast in the deserted Jama Masjid, that is usually packed with thousands of devotees during the holy month of ramadan, because...
A civic employe puts a stamp on the hand, top right, of a photojournalist for a 2-week quarantine at home after his COVID-19 test report came negative...
A health worker tends to her colleague who fainted due to exhaustion at a COVID-19 testing camp in New Delhi, India, Monday, April 27, 2020. (AP Photo...
Migrant workers who were traveling in a truck to return to their home state of Uttar Pradesh are detained by police in Mumbai, India, Saturday, May 9,...
Migrants laborers hailing from Uttar Pradesh state with their families trying to return to their villages walk towards a bus terminus in New Delhi, In...
Izhaar Hussain Shaikh, left, an ambulance driver who works for HelpNow, an initiative to help the stretched services of first responders, picks up a C...
Relatives in personal protective suits bury the body of their relative who died of COVID 19 at a cemetery in Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (A...
Indian laborers work to build a new quarantine center in Gauhati, India, Sunday, June 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
A health worker takes a nasal swab of a person for a COVID-19 test at a hospital in New Delhi, India, Monday, July 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Health workers screen people for COVID-19 symptoms at a slum in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
An unidentified relative comforts the grieving son of a paramilitary officer who died of COVID-19 as he performs religious rituals during the crematio...

An Indian lift operator stands inside a dedicated lift for people suspected to have the coronavirus at the Government Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, In...

Indian social activists distribute masks to pedestrians at the landmark Charminar in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, March 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar...

Indian workers make face masks which are in demand due to the coronavirus at a private manufacturing unit in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (...

A passenger climbs the stairs of a fairly empty Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus train station during the coronavirus outbreak in Mumbai, India, T...

Srinagar Municipal Corporation staff travel in a vehicle after spraying disinfectants in a tourist area as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 in...

People clap from balconies in show of appreciation to health care workers at a Chawl in Mumbai, India, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool...

A family, wearing face masks as a precaution from coronavirus, pray inside their house marking the start of Navratri festival, where Hindu fast for ni...

Children wearing face masks amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, return home after learning that public gatherings and schools are shut f...

A Kashmiri woman wearing protective mask watches through a window of her house as an Indian policeman makes markings for people to maintain social dis...

Catholic devotees offer prayers at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Good Friday, during a lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus in Hyderabad,...

Mina Ramesh Jakhawadiya, center, tells her son Ritik Ramesh, left, not to go out and play because of the coronavirus and be in the house in Mumbai, In...

Balconies are illuminated with candles and torches to mark the country's fight against COVID-19 in Greater Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, April ...

A doctor checks the temperature of a girl in Dharavi, one of Asia's largest slums, during lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Mumbai,...

An Indian homeless man sits in a bus as he is being evicted with other homeless people and migrant laborers from the banks of Yamuna River where they ...

Muslim priests break the fast in the deserted Jama Masjid, that is usually packed with thousands of devotees during the holy month of ramadan, because...

A civic employe puts a stamp on the hand, top right, of a photojournalist for a 2-week quarantine at home after his COVID-19 test report came negative...

A health worker tends to her colleague who fainted due to exhaustion at a COVID-19 testing camp in New Delhi, India, Monday, April 27, 2020. (AP Photo...

Migrant workers who were traveling in a truck to return to their home state of Uttar Pradesh are detained by police in Mumbai, India, Saturday, May 9,...

Migrants laborers hailing from Uttar Pradesh state with their families trying to return to their villages walk towards a bus terminus in New Delhi, In...

Izhaar Hussain Shaikh, left, an ambulance driver who works for HelpNow, an initiative to help the stretched services of first responders, picks up a C...

Relatives in personal protective suits bury the body of their relative who died of COVID 19 at a cemetery in Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (A...

Indian laborers work to build a new quarantine center in Gauhati, India, Sunday, June 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

A health worker takes a nasal swab of a person for a COVID-19 test at a hospital in New Delhi, India, Monday, July 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Health workers screen people for COVID-19 symptoms at a slum in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

An unidentified relative comforts the grieving son of a paramilitary officer who died of COVID-19 as he performs religious rituals during the crematio...

NEW DELHI, India (AP) — From high up in the Himalayan valley of Kashmir to the seemingly endless sprawl of beaches in Kanyakumari, the virus despair has stretched across the large swathes of India, overwhelming its hospitals and burial grounds.

On Friday, the reported cases approached a million, still soaring at an alarming pace, as the Indian government looks to confront an inevitable surge that could test the country’s feeble health care system.

But because testing has been limited, official statistics cannot capture the full picture. Yet, the virus has already brought immense grief to Indians.

Nearly 25,000 people have died so far. The already ailing economy has been severely hit. Millions of migrants have been forced to return to the countryside due to job losses and hunger during lockdown, triggering an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

The virus, like elsewhere in the world, has also upended religious ceremonies for the dead, which are largely devoid of rituals that comfort mourners. Freshly dug graves have been filling up quickly for weeks and crematoriums are working extra hours.

Across the country, hospitals are close to capacity.

The virus, however, also brought out the best in Indians. Volunteers have been at the forefront of delivering food and medicine to the needy. Nonprofit groups have pitched in with masks, sanitizers and hazmat suits for medical workers.

Over the past few months, Associated Press photographers across the country have captured the agony experienced by regular Indians. They spent days traversing the narrow alleys of teeming slums, deserted highways, crowded hospitals and sometimes inside the homes of India’s poor who bear the brunt of the crisis.

They documented health care workers checking on virus victims, shared grief with families burying or cremating loved ones, and chronicled the once vibrant and colorful life brought to a sudden grinding halt by the pandemic.

The stay-at-home orders are back in many cities, with authorities allowing only essential food supplies and health services. The economy is far from recovering.


Updated : 2021-01-29 00:34 GMT+08:00