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India on Thursday saw an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 infections, with 314,835 new infections, the world’s biggest-ever daily spike in cases, as the second wave of the pandemic took the country’s caseload to 15.9 million.

The South Asian country posted another grim record as it registered 2,104 Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, data from the federal Health Ministry showed. Altogether, 184,000 people have died.

The latest surge in cases surpasses the previous highest one-day spike in the world, of around 300,300 cases in the United States on January 2, according to the Johns Hopkins University website.

The health care infrastructure has collapsed in several parts of the country, with shortages of medical oxygen, beds and anti-viral drugs being reported from hospitals across India as people appeal for help.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan sought to assure late on Wednesday that the federal government had increased the stocks of oxygen for seven-worst hit areas, including New Delhi and Mumbai, after courts slammed authorities for the situation.

Medical experts say the situation is precarious as the second wave is yet to peak and they are not sure when the cases will decline.

India is the worst-affected country worldwide after the US, which has logged 31.8 million cases. It is recording its highest numbers of new Covid-19 cases, in a second wave that began in mid-February.

Experts attribute the rapid spread of cases to people’s failure to observe safety measures, as well as to the presence of more infectious variants of the virus.

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