India recorded its highest daily tally of coronavirus cases this year with 28,903 new infections, taking the total COVID-19 tally to 1,14,38,734, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Wednesday.
The death toll increased to 1,59,044 with 188 new fatalities, the highest in around two months, the Union Health Ministry data showed.
Registering an increase for the seventh day in a row, the total active caseload has increased to 2,34,406 which now comprises 2.05 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 96.56 per cent.
India has the world's highest tally of infections after the United States and Brazil.
The federal government has blamed crowding and a general reluctance to wear masks for the spike, ruling out the virus mutations that have been a factor in Western countries.
Maharashtra, home to India's commercial capital of Mumbai, is among the states that have already tightened rules to curb the spread of the virus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will discuss the rise in cases in a video conference with state chief ministers later on Wednesday.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,10,45,284, while the case fatality rate has dropped to 1.39 per cent, the data stated.
Nearly 62% of infections in the past 24 hours and 46% of the deaths were reported by the western state of Maharashtra, the country's worst affected. The 188 new fatalities include 87 from Maharashtra, 38 from Punjab, 15 from Kerala and 12 from Chhattisgarh.
A total of 1,59,044 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 52,996 from Maharashtra, 12,556 from Tamil Nadu, 12,403 from Karnataka, 10,945 from Delhi, 10,297 from West Bengal, 8,750 from Uttar Pradesh and 7,185 from Andhra Pradesh.As many as 3,50,64,536 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far.
According to the ICMR, 22,92,49,784 samples have been tested up to March 16 with 9,69,021 samples being tested on Tuesday.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.
"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.