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April 5, 2021

India on Monday recorded more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases, a record daily increase for the country—now seeing more new infections than any other country in the world—which has forced its richest state Maharastra and financial hub Mumbai to impose a partial lockdown.

The country reported 103,558 new infections in the previous 24 hours, breaching the previous record peak of 97,894 in mid-September last year.

India’s daily case count has surged more than ten-fold since mid-February when the country reported around 9,000 daily cases—a development which had puzzled several experts.

 

The country also reported 478 new deaths from Covid-19, which still remains significantly lower than what countries like the U.S. and Brazil witnessed at their peak. 

India’s richest state, Maharastra—whose capital Mumbai is the country’s financial hub—has been the epicenter of the country’s new surge, reporting 57,074 new cases on Monday.

Maharastra’s Chief Minister announced several new restrictions Sunday night including—a ban on large gatherings, a curfew from 8 pm to 7 am every day and a complete lockdown on the weekends.

There is a danger the surge in cases could accelerate further as five Indian states are in the middle of legislative elections which has seen massive campaign rallies with thousands of people in attendance. The north Indian state of Uttarakhand is also in the middle of the month-long Hindu pilgrimage known as the Kumbh Mela, which is attended by hundreds of thousands of devotees, often gathering in close proximity.

65 million. That’s the total number of people who have received a Covid-19 vaccine in India according to data released by the health ministry on Sunday. However, only around 10 million people have been fully vaccinated against the virus in the country of 1.3 billion. Earlier this month vaccinations were opened to all people over the age of 45.

The sharp decline in Covid-19 cases over the new year period, which bottomed out around mid-February, had puzzled several experts. Many began to wonder if India had reached a point of herd immunity, while others attributed it near-universal masking compliance. However, others had warned that the drop was simply a temporary lull and had expressed alarm about the arrival of more infectious strains of the virus in the country. A high-level meeting on the recent surge, chaired by the Prime Minister, over the weekend has blamed several factors including a sharp drop in compliance with safety norms including mask-wearing and social distancing, pandemic fatigue and lack of effecting containment measures at a local level.