New Delhi:


India's coronavirus infections surged to more than a three-month high on Friday, led by a record daily increase in the western state of Maharashtra, where authorities have adopted fresh curbs to restrain the spread of the disease. India's overall tally of infections stands at 11.51 million, the highest after the United States and Brazil.

The country reported 39,726 new coronavirus cases on Friday, its highest since Nov. 30.

India saw 39,726 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day, the highest single day rise recorded so far this year, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,15,14,331, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

Registering an increase for the ninth day in a row, the total active caseload has reached 2,71,282, which now comprises 2.36 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 96.26 per cent, the data stated.

The daily rise in infections (39,726) was the highest recorded in 110 days, while the death toll increased to 1,59,370 with 154 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

As many as 41,810 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours on November 29.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,10,83,679, while the case fatality rate has further to 1.38 per cent, the data stated.

 Maharashtra, home to India's commercial capital, Mumbai, reported record 25,833 cases, accounting for 65% of the country's new infections in the past 24 hours. This marks the single highest daily case count in the state, topping the numbers of September 2020, when India was adding close to 100,000 cases a day.The state health minister said they have requested 2 million vaccine doses per week from the federal government, with the aim of inoculating 300,000 people per day. "We are aggressively vaccinating people in the state," Maharashtra's health minister, Rajesh Tope, told reporters.

Hospital beds and special COVID-19 facilities were filling up fast, especially in Mumbai, and other major industrial cities including Nagpur and Pune, officials said. The capital, New Delhi, has also reported a steady rise in infections over the last two weeks, prompting city authorities to scale up the immunization campaign to 125,000 doses per day, compared with about 40,000 at present.

This week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged all leaders of states to scale up the ongoing nationwide vaccination campaign aimed at inoculating 300 million people by August. The country's main opposition has criticised the government for aggressively pushing ahead with vaccine exports instead of scaling up domestic distribution.

Many Indians, including the leaders of a few states, are now demanding inoculation drives be expanded to include the younger population. Since starting the campaign in mid-January, India has administered more than 39 million doses, most of those Covishield, the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

The country, also the world's biggest vaccine maker, has given away or sold 59 million locally produced doses overseas.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.

According to ICMR, 23,13,70,546 samples have been tested up to March 18 with 10,57,383 samples being tested on Thursday.