India has reported a record rise in coronavirus infections, becoming only the second country after the United States to register more than 100,000 new cases in a day.
The country’s daily Covid-19 cases soared by 103,558 on Monday, the biggest such daily increase, data from the health ministry showed, taking the total to 12.6 million, the highest after the US and Brazil.
Deaths jumped by 478, still one of the lowest death rates in the world, raising the total to 165,101.
India has recorded the most number of infections in the past week anywhere in the world.
The country’s daily infections have leaped about 12-fold since hitting a multi-month low in early February when authorities eased most restrictions and people largely stopped wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
The western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital, Mumbai, reported a record 57,074 new cases overnight. The state has contributed more than 55 percent of total cases in the country in the last two weeks.
The Maharashtra government on Sunday announced new restrictions, including a night curfew and a weekend lockdown, to prevent the further spread of the virus.
The state will start shutting shopping malls, cinemas, bars, restaurants, and places of worship from Monday evening.
Authorities will also impose a complete lockdown at weekends, as experts worried about a shortage of critical-care beds in hospitals, especially in its smaller cities.
More infectious variants of the virus may have played a role in the second surge, some epidemiologists say, but officials have cautioned against linking that to the surge.
Experts say the surge is blamed in part on growing disregard for social distancing and mask-wearing in public spaces, including public gatherings.
India has intensified its vaccination drive in recent weeks, now administering over three million jabs a day. But the shots have been slow to reach India’s nearly 1.4 billion people.
More than 76 million Indians have received at least one shot, but only 9.5 million of them have received both. Health officials want to cover 300 million people by August, but experts say the vaccinations need to move faster to stop the spread.