India reports biggest daily jump in COVID-19 infections this year

NEW DELHI: India reported the year’s biggest daily increase in COVID-19 cases on Sunday (Mar 14), with 25,320 new infections, a day ahead of a lockdown in the western state of Maharashtra, the epicentre of the renewed surge.

The jump was the biggest since Dec 16, according to federal health data. India is the third-most affected country globally with 11.36 million cases, behind the United States and Brazil.

India’s COVID-19 deaths rose by 161 to 158,607 over the last 24 hours, Sunday’s data show, compared to an average of about 100 since early February.

Nagpur district in Maharashtra will lock down on Monday for the first time since nationwide curbs were lifted in June. The state reported the highest number of infections with 2.3 million cases.

READ: India warns states of worsening COVID-19 situation if rules ignored

The capital New Delhi has reported a steady rise in infections over the last two weeks, with health authorities cautioning residents against any slackening of hygiene measures.

India’s caseload had been falling steadily since peaking in late September, but increased social gatherings and travel have caused a spike since early February, even as a nationwide vaccination campaign is under way.

The federal government aims to vaccinate a fifth of the country’s 1.3 billion people by August.

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