New Delhi, Jan 13 (EFE).- India reported Thursday 247,417 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, an increase of 27 percent in a day and 172 percent in a week, as the country faces a third wave that has led to tightening of restrictions.
With the latest jump in cases, the South Asian country has now recorded 36.2 million infections since the start of the pandemic, according to the Ministry of Health.
This is the highest number of cases since May 21 last year, when India was barely recovering from a virulent second wave that caused a collapse of the healthcare system.
The positivity rate has also increased rapidly to 13.11 percent from just 1.1 percent on Dec.30.
So far, 5,488 cases of the Omicron variant have been registered since it was first detected in India in December.
The country also recorded 380 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of officially recognized fatalities to 485,035.
The rapid increase in cases has caused concern among the authorities, although Indian Council of Medical Research head Balram Bhargava said in a press conference Wednesday that initial data suggested that the Omicron variant was less severe and required fewer hospitalizations.
However, organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have pointed out that the rise in cases due to the new variant could cause a collapse of healthcare systems in South Asian countries, similar to that suffered by India and Nepal last year.
India became the global epicenter of the pandemic in May 2021, during a devastating second wave with more than 400,000 daily infections and over 4,500 deaths per day, resulting in shortage of hospital beds and medical oxygen.
India has administered 1.546 billion shots against the coronavirus, and 644 million people have received both vaccine doses, according to the official Cowin platform. EFE