India coronavirus cases jump by record as tally nears 3 million

22 August 2020 - 11:33 By Reuters
Muslims wearing protective masks attend Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid after authorities eased lockdown restrictions that were imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Srinagar, August 21, 2020.
Muslims wearing protective masks attend Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid after authorities eased lockdown restrictions that were imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Srinagar, August 21, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Danish Ismail

India reported a record daily jump of coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing the total near 3 million and piling pressure on authorities to curb huge gatherings as a major religious festival began.

The 69,878 new infections - the fourth straight day above 60,000 - take India's total cases to 2.98 million, behind only the United States and Brazil. Covid-19 deaths increased by 945 to 55,794, data from the federal health ministry showed.

For most of western India, especially the financial capital Mumbai, the 11-day festival of Hindu elephant-headed god Ganesh is usually celebrated with big public gatherings.

Cases have plateaued in Mumbai, which now averages just above 1,000 a day and has recorded more than 134,000 in total. But strict pandemic regulations have meant the festival season, which begins this month, has been lacklustre.

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