New coronavirus cases and deaths in India hit a record daily high with 4,12,262 new infections and 3,980 fatalities being reported, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,10,77,410 and the death toll to 2,30,168. PM Modi held a comprehensive review of the public health response to COVID where he said states should be given help and guidance for ramping up healthcare infrastructure, while the need for ensuring holistic containment measures was also discussed.
India's COVID-19 crisis has been most acute in the capital, New Delhi, among other cities, but in rural areas - home to nearly 70% of India's 1.3 billion people - limited public healthcare is posing more challenges.
"The situation has become dangerous in villages," said Suresh Kumar, a field coordinator with Manav Sansadhan Evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan, a human rights charity.
In some villages where the charity works in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh - home to about 200 million people - "there are deaths in almost every second house", he said.
"People are scared and huddled in their homes with fever and cough. The symptoms are all of COVID-19, but with no information available many think it is seasonal flu."
The country's top scientific adviser has warned of a possible third wave of infections.
The 3,980 new fatalities include 920 from Maharashtra, 353 from Uttar Pradesh, 346 from Karnataka, 311 from Delhi, 253 from Chhattisgarh, 181 from Haryana, 180 from Punjab, 167 from Tamil Nadu, 155 from Rajasthan, 141 from Jharkhand, 133 from Gujarat, 127 from Uttarakhand and 103 from West Bengal, according to the Union Health Ministry.
A total of 2,30,168 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 72,662 from Maharashtra, 18,063 from Delhi, 16,884 from Karnataka, 14,779 from Tamil Nadu, 14,151 from Uttar Pradesh, 11,847 from West Bengal, 9,825 from Punjab and 9,738 from Chhattisgarh.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.
With inputs from PTI, Reuters