New Delhi, 15 April 2021 (dpa/MIA) – India on Thursday reported a single-day rise of over 200,000 Covid-19 cases for the first time, pushing the total number of infections in the country to over 14 million.
India has been the world’s worst-hit country since early April, pushing its health care infrastructure to the limit and forcing regional governments to impose restrictions to control the virus.
In addition to the 200,739 fresh cases in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry reported 1,038 deaths, taking the total death count to 173,123.
The national capital New Delhi and seven other states have been seeing record daily infection counts.
The worst-affected state of Maharashtra, which has the financial hub of Mumbai as its capital, saw 59,000 cases and 278 deaths. Authorities have shut restaurants and banned public gatherings of more than five people.
Mumbai and New Delhi, which recorded its highest-ever single-day rise of 17,282 infections, were facing severe shortages of hospital beds and oxygen supplies and orders were issued to convert private hospitals and hotels into Covid-19 facilities.
India saw a downward trend in infections from the end of 2020, but the numbers began rising again in mid-February.
India’s total cases are second behind US, while fatalities are the fourth behind US, Brazil and Mexico.
Strains of the virus in India with “double mutations” have been found in patients in 10 states. This could be responsible for rising infections and a faster spread in these states, Health Ministry sources told broadcaster NDTV.
Recent regional elections and festivals including the mammoth month-long Kumbh Mela are expected to accelerate the infection rate further.