“I got the test done and was found positive,” the 55-year-old minister said, adding that he asked those who have been in contact with him in the past few days to isolate and be tested.
Modi has not publicly commented on getting tested or the results of any such test.
Shah has been actively involved in the government’s coronavirus response these past few months, with visits to treatment centers and emergency field hospitals.
The virus has struck a number of other government officials. Kamal Rani Varun, the minister of technical education in Uttar Pradesh state, died on Sunday from coronavirus, confirmed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday. She died at a hospital in the state capital Lucknow, where she was receiving treatment.
The chief minister of India’s southern state of Karnataka also announced that he tested positive on Sunday, only hours after tweeting well wishes to Shah.
This past week was India’s deadliest, with more than 5,300 coronavirus related deaths reported. The country now has more than 1.8 million cases and 38,000 deaths, according to the health ministry.
Cases rise nationwide
India has the third-highest number of virus cases worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Only two other countries — the United States and Brazil — have recorded more than 1 million cases.
New Delhi and Mumbai, the country’s two most populous cities, are among the worst hit. Mumbai, India’s financial capital with a population of more than 12 million, has reported more than 115,000 cases as of Saturday evening, including at least 6,180 deaths. The city is in Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in India with more than 416,000 confirmed cases and at least 15,300 deaths, according to official statistics.
In these cities, where the wealth gap is immense, coronavirus has spread indiscriminately, infecting politicians and Bollywood stars as well as those living in crowded slums.
But it has also highlighted some of these deep-rooted inequalities; although Mumbai is India’s richest city, its wealth is largely held by a small, elite group, who can afford care at expensive private hospitals. Most residents are left to public hospitals, which were quickly overwhelmed in April and May as the virus took hold.
This could also be why infection rates are so high citywide, despite lockdown measures; many wealthier residents are dependent on those living in slums for services such as gardening, cleaning and driving.
India has a relatively low Covid-19 mortality rate per capita compared to other hard-hit countries, with only 2.47 deaths per 100,000, compared with 45.24 in the US and 68.95 in the United Kingdom, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Experts have pointed to India’s relatively young population as a possible explanation for the lower mortality rate, as young are less likely to die from coronavirus.