CORONAVIRUS: INDIA OVERTAKES RUSSIA AS THIRD WORST-HIT NATION IN COVID-19 TALLY
India has now taken the third spot in the list of nations worst hit by coronavirus. The country logged more than 6.9 lakh cases on Sunday evening, according to data from state governments, overtaking Russia, which had 6.8 lakh as per America's Johns Hopkins University (JHU). India is now preceded only by Brazil and the US. Brazil has over 15 lakh cases and the US has more than 28 lakh.
India added a record number of coronavirus cases on Sunday. In its daily morning update, the health ministry reported just under 25,000 cases and 613 deaths in 24 hours -- the biggest daily spike since the first case was detected in late January.
The surge, that took the number of deaths to 19,268, came as infections rose in the western and southern parts of the country amid heavy monsoon rains.
Maharashtra, the worst-hit state and home to the densely packed financial hub Mumbai, recorded over 7,000 new cases while Tamil Nadu and Delhi recorded more than 4,200 and 2,500 fresh cases respectively.
India had imposed one of the world's strictest lockdowns in March to control the virus spread, but it has been eased in phases in recent weeks to restart economic activity.
Schools, metro trains in cities, cinemas, gyms and swimming pools remain closed and international flights are still grounded.
Authorities have made wearing masks mandatory in public places, while large gatherings are banned and shops and other public establishments are required to implement social distancing.
The government has pinned its hope on vaccines being quickly developed to meet the crisis that began in China last year.
Approval for human clinical trials for two made-in-India COVID-19 vaccine candidates marks the "beginning of the end" for the pandemic, the government said on Sunday.
Epidemiologists warn India's peak could still be weeks or months away, suggesting the country's already severely overburdened healthcare system will come under further stress.