India records highest daily spike of 38,902 infections as total cases reach 1,077,618

India ranks third after US and Brazil in the number of coronavirus cases. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (XINHUA) - India reported 543 new deaths from Covid-19, its highest single-day spike on Saturday (July 18).

The total number of cases rose by 38,902 to 1,077,618 in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Sunday.

A total of 677,423 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

"The number of active cases in the country right now is 373,379," the ministry said.

The spike came less than three weeks after the country entered what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called "Unlock 2.0", with many curbs on movement relaxed in hopes of getting the economy up and running again.

But as the number of infections keeps hitting record highs - total cases hit the one million mark just two days ago, on Friday - many states and cities have been locking down again.

The worst-hit areas have been India's busiest cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru.

On Saturday, Mumbai became the second Indian city after New Delhi to cross the grim milestone of 100,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 1,199 fresh cases reported.

Of the total cases of 100,178 so far, 70,492 patients have been cured and discharged, while 24,039 are active cases. The number of deaths in the city alone stands at 5,647.

The city with a population of 18.4 million has so far tested 427,378 people and has a recovery rate of 70 per cent with patient doubling rate - the time it takes for case numbers to double - at 54 days, according to the update shared by the city's governing authority, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.

Mumbai remains under partial lockdown with largely essential service providers and only state government employees being allowed to travel.

India's western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is its political capital, was planning to roll out the next phase of Mission Begin Again by relaxing lockdown norms and easing restriction on public transport earlier this month, but the spike in cases in India's financial capital and adjoining urban hubs had acted as a deterrent, a civic official said.

India, ranked third after the US and Brazil in the number of coronavirus cases, recorded a total of 1,077,618 infections since the pandemic started. A total of 26,273 deaths have been reported so far.

Human trials of a vaccine called Covaxin, developed by India-based Bharat Biotech, has started at a government-run hospital in northern state of Haryana on Friday.

"Three subjects were enrolled today. All have tolerated the vaccine very well. There were no adverse effects," tweeted the state's Health Minister Anil Vij.

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