India coronavirus: Daily cases surpass 100,000 for first time as country faces surging second wave

India becomes only the second country after the US to record a six digit single-day spike

Shweta Sharma
Monday 05 April 2021 09:29 BST
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<p>Revelers crowd at the Juhu beach, Mumbai on 4  April, a day before India reported a record of 100,000 infection amid second wave of pandemic</p>

Revelers crowd at the Juhu beach, Mumbai on 4 April, a day before India reported a record of 100,000 infection amid second wave of pandemic

India added more than 103,000 coronavirus cases on Monday, the first time its daily increase in infections has entered six figures, as a key state entered a new lockdown amid a surging second wave.

Of the new cases reported on Monday morning, 57,700 were in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, which ordered non-essential shops to shut from today and began enforcing an evening and weekend curfew, as well as a ban on large gatherings.

The national case total has been pushed past 12.59 million, fast catching up with Brazil which has the second-highest caseload of 13 million infections.

India now has 741,830 active cases across the country and has recorded 165,101 Covid-related deaths, according to health ministry data.

Previously, India hit its highest single-day spike during the first wave on 17 September, when 97,894 infections were recorded in a day.

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The spike in cases prompted prime minister Narendra Modi to chair a high-level meeting on Sunday to take stock of the situation. Mr Modi attributed the rise to a decline in compliance with Covid-appropriate behaviour, pandemic fatigue and lack of effective implementation of rules to contain the virus.

He ordered the dispatch of teams of experts to the three worst-hit states – Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh – to study the situation and devise methods to control the raging virus.

Since February, India has been seeing a steady rise in Covid cases after apparent success in containing the first wave. In March, cases have risen by 39 per cent, which is the fastest rate of increase in any country.

After adding 73,301 new cases on Saturday, India overtook Brazil’s daily infections of 66,176 and the US’s of 65,624. India is only the second country after the US to see a spike of at least 100,000 cases in a single day at any time during the pandemic.

On Sunday, the country’s wealthiest state Maharashtra accounted for 54.9 per cent of the infections. Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh were other states to contribute a large number of cases.

The high spike in cases now is being partly attributed to widespread Holi celebrations last Monday, and experts previously told The Independent this was to be expected. Huge crowds of people gathered in temples and streets to celebrate the festival of colours on 29 March.

Top health official VK Paul described the outbreak as moving from “bad to worse” as he pulled up worst-hit states for lack of measures in containing the virus. He warned that the surge “has the potential to overwhelm resources.”

The experts have been calling on the government to accelerate the vaccination drive to control the surge and avoid the possibility of a third wave.

According to official data, India has fully vaccinated at least 10 million individuals in the country so far.

States have been announcing fresh restrictions with Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir government announcing prohibitory measures.

Maharashtra announced a complete weekend lockdown, day-time restrictions and nightly curfews on its 110 million people on Sunday. Businesses, except shops, markets and malls for essential services, have been shut till 30 April.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Bangladesh has announced a seven-day lockdown from Monday, with a ban on all domestic travel services and suspension of flights amid its own surge in cases.

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