A health worker collect a swab sample from a woman during a rapid antigen testing campaign for the coronavirus in New Delhi. File
India reported 40,953 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the biggest daily jump in nearly four months, with its richest state and economic backbone Maharashtra accounting for more than half the infections.
Deaths rose by 188 to 159,404, the health ministry reported, underscoring a resurgence of the virus in the world's third worst affected country, after the United States and Brazil.
Some regions in India have already reimposed containment measures, including lockdowns and restaurant closures, and more are being considered.
Doctors have blamed the fresh infection wave on people's relaxed attitude to mask-wearing and other social distancing measures, warning that hospital wards were swiftly filling up in states like Maharashtra.
Maharashtra reported a record 25,681 cases, including 3,000 in the financial capital of Mumbai, over the past 24 hours.
The state of 112 million people has imposed a lockdown in some districts and put curbs on cinemas, hotels and restaurants until the end of the month. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray warned that a wider lockdown is an option, according to local media.
The rise in India's COVID-19 cases peaked at nearly 100,000 a day in September, and had been falling steadily until late last month.
In addition to Maharashtra, the Indian states of Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh all reported a surge in new cases.
The capital, New Delhi, has reported a steady rise in infections over the last two weeks, prompting city authorities to scale up an immunisation drive to 125,000 doses per day, from about 40,000.
Many Indians have started questioning the government's highly publicised vaccine exports campaign when only a fraction of the country's 1.35 billion people have been inoculated.
The government has announced plans to inoculate 300 million people, or a fifth of the population, by August. Yet only 42 million have been vaccinated so far, while the world's biggest vaccine maker has gifted or exported almost 60 million doses.
The number of Indians in the middle class, or those earning between $10 and $20 a day, shrunk by about 32 million, compared with the number that could have been reached in the absence of a pandemic, the Pew Research Centre said.
"In view of the declining cases of corona, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal approved the proposal," the official, who declined to be identified, said of a suggestion from authorities that the weekend curfew be scrapped.
The ban, which runs to Jan.22, excludes indoor political party events of less than 300 people, or at 50% of a venue's capacity, the watchdog said in a statement. India reported 268,833 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) affirmed that the UAE expresses its strong condemnation of these criminal acts, and its permanent rejection of all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at undermining security and stability in contravention of human values and principles.
Locals and conservationists reacted with outrage Thursday at the deliberate destruction of one of the UK's most photographed trees, next to the Roman-era Hadrian's Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage site in northeast England.
On behalf of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, arrived on Friday in Belgrade on a working visit.