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Family members sit on benches next to a pyre of a Covid-19 victim at the Nigambodh Ghat crematorium in New Delhi, India in the early hours of Thursday, April 22.
Family members sit on benches next to a pyre of a Covid-19 victim at the Nigambodh Ghat crematorium in New Delhi, India, in the wee hours of Thursday, April 22. Sajjad Hussain / AFP / Getty Images

India reported 314,835 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, the largest daily increase in cases worldwide since the start of the pandemic.

The country also recorded its highest number of new Covid-19-related deaths with 2,104 deaths.

The striking numbers come as healthcare and other essential services across India are on the verge of collapsing amid a second wave of coronavirus that is tearing the country apart at devastating speed.

The Union Territory of Delhi received less than half of the oxygen needed to treat Covid-19 patients on Wednesday, with 200 to 250 tons of oxygen against a need of 700 tons, the lawyer said on Wednesday from the Delhi government to the High Court.

A petition from the Bajaj Medical and Research Center, which operates a chain of private hospitals, said five of its Delhi hospitals had between two and 18 hours of oxygen supply.

As the court heard the petition, two of the five private hospitals mentioned in the petition had received oxygen, the court noted.

As of Thursday afternoon, Delhi had 26 vacant intensive care beds, according to government data.

Several Indian states have imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged states to use lockdown as a last resort.

India’s second most populous state, Maharashtra, announced new restrictions on Wednesday. People will only be allowed to travel for essential services or for “unavoidable events” such as funerals. All private passenger transport will be allowed to operate at 50% of capacity.

The new rules will take effect Thursday at 8 p.m. local time and will remain in effect until 7 a.m. on May 1.

India had now recorded a total of 15,930,965 cases as of Thursday, according to the Indian Ministry of Health. The total death toll now stands at 184,657 people.

A little background: India’s population is almost four times that of the United States, and its daily cases are still lower than the United States after adjusting for population size (in cases per million people). But the outbreak in India is arguably the largest in the world in absolute numbers at the moment – nearly 28% of all new cases globally over the past week have been from India, said on Wednesday. World Health Organization.

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