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India’s daily new infections highest in six months


NEW DELHI: India on Friday recorded 81,466 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest daily increase in six months, as a second wave of the coronavirus sweeps through the country’s urban areas.

Fresh infections were more than 11 per cent higher than on Thursday, when the country registered 72,330 cases, data released by the federal Health Ministry showed.

The single-day rise in cases is the highest recorded in India since October 2, when 81,484 new infections were recorded. A total of 469 people died in the past 24 hours, the highest daily toll since December 6.

India’s financial hub of Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state, a virus hotspot, saw a daily spike of 8,646 cases, making it the highest one-day spike since the pandemic struck the city last year, reports said.

New Delhi also witnessed a jump of 53 per cent in the number of cases from the previous day after the city reported 2,790 infections on Thursday.

Health infrastructure has come under strain in major cities including Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai, which are also battling a rise in infections.

Health experts say the surge is due to a new strain as well as a lack of adherence to safety measures including mask requirements. The government on Thursday expanded its vaccination campaign to everyone older than 45 years.

Scientists have forecast that the second wave will peak in India by April 15-20 and register a sharp drop over the next 20 days, the Times of India newspaper reported.

India has reported more than 12.3 million cases of Covid-19, the third-largest caseload after the United States and Brazil. A total of 163,396 people have died.

Meanwhile, Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has been admitted to hospital as a precautionary measure after he tested positive for the coronavirus. Tendulkar was quarantining at home in Mumbai after the positive test result last week following mild symptoms.

“Thank you for your wishes and prayers. As a matter of abundant precaution under medical advice, I have been hospitalised. I hope to be back home in a few days,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday.

The batting great, who was part of India’s World Cup win in 2011, also wished his team-mates on the 10th anniversary of the victory. — dpa

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