New Delhi: India on Sunday set a coronavirus record when it reported 78,761 new infections in 24 hours — the world’s highest single-day rise — even as it continued to open up the economy. It has also reported more than 63,000 deaths, according to the official health ministry toll.
The US set the previous record on July 17 with 77,638 daily infections.
In his regular monthly radio address on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not comment on the milestone but called on Indians to observe health safety measures.
“It is important that every citizen is healthy and happy and we defeat coronavirus completely together,” Modi said in Hindi.
“Corona(virus) can only be defeated when you remain safe, when you fulfil the resolve of keeping a safe distance of two yards and wearing masks.”
Experts warn that while a ramp up in testing in recent months was encouraging, more needed to be done to capture the scale of the pandemic in the world’s second-most populous nation.
The virus has badly hit megacities such as financial hub Mumbai and the capital New Delhi, but is now also surging in smaller cities and rural areas.
“Testing per million in India at 30,000 remains the second lowest in top 10 (virus-infected) countries. Mexico is lowest at about 10,000,” virologist Shahid Jameel, who heads the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance said.
“We are still finding one positive in every 11 to 12 tests. This number should be one in 20 simply and means that testing is still sub-optimal and the outbreak is growing.”
India’s COVID-19 tally zoomed past 35 lakh, just a week after it crossed the 30-lakh mark, with a record single-day spike of 78,761 cases, while recoveries surged to 27,13,933 on Sunday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.
The total coronavirus cases rose to 35,42,733, while the death toll climbed to 63,498 with 948 people succumbing to the diseases in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The recovery rate has increased to 76.61 percent while the COVID-19 case fatality rate has further declined to 1.79 percent.
There are 7,65,302 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 21.60 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.
India’s COVID-19 cases rose from 20 lakh to 30 lakh in 16 days and 10 lakh to 20 lakh in 21 days.
It took 110 days for COVID-19 cases in the country to reach one lakh while just 59 days more to go past the 10-lakh post.
India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7 and went past 30 lakh on August 23.
According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 4,14,61,636 samples have been tested up to August 29 with 10,55,027 samples being tested on Saturday.
COVID-19 deaths in India
Of the 948 fresh deaths, 328 are from Maharashtra, 115 from Karnataka, 87 from Tamil Nadu, 82 from Andhra Pradesh, 62 from Uttar Pradesh, 53 from West Bengal, 41 from Punjab, 22 from Madhya Pradesh, 16 from Jharkhand, 15 from Delhi, 14 from Odisha, 13 each from Gujarat and Rajasthan, 12 from Puducherry, 11 each from Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand.
Puducherry has registered 211 fatalities, Goa 178, Tripura 98, Chandigarh 45, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 44, Himachal Pradesh 34, Ladakh 32, Manipur 28, Meghalaya 10, Nagaland nine, Arunachal Pradesh five, Sikkim three and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu two.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.
“Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research,” the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.