India’s coronavirus caseload has become the fourth-largest in the world, overtaking the UK, by adding 10,956 new cases in another biggest single-day spike.
India’s two-month lockdown kept transmissions low but in a large population of 1.3 billion, people remain susceptible and the campaign against the virus is likely to go on for months, said Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research.
The lockdown was imposed nationwide in late March but has eased since, and is now largely being enforced only in high-risk areas.
The spiking caseload came after India allowed the reopening of shops, shopping centres, factories and religious places.
Subways, schools, colleges and cinemas remain closed nationwide.
The increase reported on Friday raised India’s total cases to 297,535, including 8,498 deaths, according to the Health Ministry. The death toll increased 396 in the past 24 hours.
India’s number of confirmed cases is behind only the US, Brazil and Russia.
Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai are the worst-hit cities in the country, and Mr Bhargava said urban residents have a greater chance of contracting the virus.
Infections in rural areas have also surged after migrant workers who left cities and towns after they lost jobs returned to their home towns.