A Reuters tally on Friday showed that the Indian federal government asked states to identify emergency hotspots and ramp up testing for COVID-19, after the country recorded its highest daily number of cases since September.
There were 6,050 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the federal health ministry said on Friday, continuing a sharp upward trend since last year’s lull.
In a meeting to review states’ degree of readiness, Health Minister Mansukh Mandavia asked them to ramp up genome testing and conduct mock drills in hospitals, according to a government statement.
The number of daily new cases has nearly tripled from about 2,000 at the end of March.
The health department said the prevalence of XBB.1.16, classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization, increased from 21.6% in February to 35.8% in March, adding that there was no evidence of increased hospitalizations or deaths.
The total number of active cases reached more than 28,300 with 14 deaths during the past 24 hours, bringing the official number of deaths in the country due to the disease to 530,943.
India has recorded more than 44.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic three years ago, the third highest toll after the United States and China.
(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar and Sudipto Ganguly) Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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