Deserted roads on Marine Drive during restrictions imposed by the state government amidst rising Covid-19 coronavirus cases in Mumbai on April 15, 2021. Photo: AFP/Punit Paranjpe

India added a record 200,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, official data showed Thursday, as the country’s huge second wave accelerates.

The number of new infections in a day has more than doubled since early April, with a cumulative total 14.1 million cases. 

India also added 1,038 deaths in the past day, taking the total to almost 175,000, the health ministry data showed, although on a per capita basis India is far behind many other countries.

This week, it overtook Brazil to become the country with the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases – experts have blamed complacency about the virus and frustration for the surge.

Having let its guard down with mass religious festivals, political rallies and spectators at cricket matches, India is experiencing a ferocious new wave with almost two million fresh cases this month.

After a lockdown a year ago caused widespread misery and one of the sharpest downturns of any major economy, the central government is desperate to avoid a hugely unpopular second shutdown.

But many states are tightening the screws, in particular Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai, which this week introduced tougher restrictions for its 125 million people.

AFP