India’s coronavirus cases peak over 12 million for first time


India's coronavirus cases peak over 12 million for first time
FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a passenger as others wait for their turn upon arrival at a railway station during a rapid antigen testing campaign for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai, India, March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Niharika Kulkarni

India has reported on Monday its worst single-day increase in COVID-19 cases since October, taking the tally to more than 12 million for the first time ever.

A total of 68,020 new coronavirus cases were reported in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said. It was the highest daily rise since Oct. 11, according to a Reuters tally.

India’s overall caseload of 12.04 million – the world’s biggest outside the United States and Brazil – had been falling steadily since a peak in late September, but increased public gatherings and travel are causing a spurt at a time when a majority of Indians are yet to be vaccinated.

India has been reporting a spike in cases – above the 60,000 mark – for three consecutive days, though Monday’s rise was still below September’s peak of more than 90,000 cases a day.

India’s worst affected state, Maharashtra, is considering imposing a strict lockdown this week and has already tightened travel restrictions and imposed night curfew in a bid to put a lid on rising cases of infections.

Daily deaths rose by 291 on Monday and the virus has so far killed 161,843 people in the country.

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