A Covid-19 coronavirus patient breathes with the help of oxygen.
India saw record new jumps in Covid-19 cases and deaths on Thursday, dashing tentative hopes that the catastrophic recent surge was easing.
India reported on Thursday more than 400,000 coronavirus infections over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose by a record 3,980.
The South Asian nation's tally has surged past 21 million, boosted by the record 412,262 new cases. Its death toll now stands at 230,168, health ministry data show.
Many experts suspect that with low levels of testing and poor record keeping for cause of death -- and crematoriums overwhelmed in many places -- the real numbers could be significantly higher.
The rise follows several days of falling case numbers that had raised government hopes that the virus surge may have been easing.
Having hit a high of 402,000 last Friday, the daily number of cases eased to as low as 357,000 before creeping up again on Tuesday.
Senior health ministry official Lav Aggarwal had told reporters on Monday that there was a "very early signal of movement in the positive direction".
The sharp rise in cases since late March has overwhelmed hospitals in many places, with fatal shortages of beds, drugs and oxygen.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has resisted imposing a new lockdown although several regions including the capital New Delhi, Bihar and Maharashtra have imposed local shutdowns.
Until now the worst hit areas have been Delhi and Maharashtra but other states including West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka are now reporting sharp rises.
K. Vijay Raghavan, the Indian government's principal scientific advisor, said Wednesday that the country of 1.3 billion had to be ready for another wave of infections after the current one.
"Phase 3 is inevitable given the high levels of circulating virus. But it is not clear on what timescale this phase 3 will occur. We should prepare for new waves," Raghavan told a news conference.
With the government facing criticism as patients die outside hospitals, consignments of oxygen and equipment have been arriving from the United States, France, Britain, Russia and other countries in recent days.
But India will need yet more oxygen from other countries to fight the surge until numbers stabilise, another government official said Monday.
"We did not and do not have enough oxygen," the top government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "If we could get more oxygen more lives would be saved."
Overnight, 11 people died in a hospital near the southern city of Chennai after pressure dropped in oxygen lines, the Times of India reported on Thursday, the latest in a string of similar incidents.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has called for "urgent" international action to prevent "a worsening human catastrophe" across South Asia.
It highlighted the case of Nepal, where it said "many hospitals are full and overflowing" with Covid-19 patients and the daily caseload is 57 times higher than one month ago.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Wednesday meanwhile that the UK strain of COVID-19 was more dominant in north India, while the new Indian variant known as B.1.617 was more prevalent in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat, reports said.
The Health Ministry on Saturday put the total number of cases in India at 173,763 with 4,971 deaths. The total infections included 86,422 active cases and 82,369 recoveries.
India also reported 834 deaths on Wednesday for a total of 46,091. India has the third-highest caseload after the United States and Brazil, but only the fifth-highest death toll, and authorities say the fatality rate has dropped below 2% for the first time.
The country, with the world's biggest case load behind the United States and Brazil, has now reported a jump of 50,000 cases or more each day for 15 straight days.
Israeli authorities increased operations in the occupied West Bank. More than 50 Palestinians have been killed, including fighters and civilians, in operations and incidents in the West Bank since then.
The Centre also confirmed that it is following the situation around the clock and would continue brief the public on the latest developments, calling on the public, road users and motorists to exercise precautions when driving during rain, and to avoid nearing surface runoffs and pools of rainwater.
The Centre also confirmed that it is following the situation around the clock and would continue brief the public on the latest developments, calling on the public, road users and motorists to exercise precautions when driving during rain, and to avoid nearing surface runoffs and pools of rainwater. It also appealed to members of the society to follow the bulletins and reports issued by the NCM and not to circulate rumors.