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India sets another global daily record of 346,000 COVID-19 cases

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A woman reacts as she receives the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 at an apartment building in Bengaluru, India, Saturday, April 24, 2021.
A woman reacts as she receives the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 at an apartment building in Bengaluru, India, Saturday, April 24, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
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India has yet again set a global daily record high of new COVID-19 infections as the virus spreads rapidly in the country.

India reported 346,786 new coronavirus cases in a day. The country has so far reported more than 16 million cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

The only country with a higher number of cases is the United States, which has recorded a total of nearly 32 million cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

India's health ministry also reported another 2,624 deaths in the past 24 hours, pushing India’s confirmed death toll to 189,544.

It comes as hospitals in India report critical shortages of beds and oxygen supplies.

Crematoriums have been overburdened as well amid the crisis. Many countries, including Germany, have issued stricter travel restrictions from India amid the rising cases.

A downward trend in infections likely led to complacency among the authorities, health experts and critics have said.

They also blame politicians and government authorities for allowing super-spreader events, including religious festivals and election rallies, to take place as recently as this month.

"It’s not the virus variants and mutations which are a key cause of the current rise in infections," Dr Anant Bhan, a bioethics and global health expert, tweeted this week.

"It’s the variants of ineptitude and abdication of public health thinking by our decision makers."

European leaders were subject to similar criticism last fall with many experts saying that a fast reopening and summer holidays led to the second coronavirus wave in October and November.