With 175 new deaths as lockdown measures ease, India's coronavirus toll has increased to 4706, surpassing the tally in neighbouring China
India has reported a jump of 7466 coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, its biggest one-day surge, as the country relaxes lockdown measures.
The total number of infections rose to 165,799, the Health Ministry said on Friday (local time) in its daily morning update. This was the first time more than 7000 more cases were detected in a 24-hour period, following seven consecutive days of more than 6000 cases per day.
There were 175 new deaths linked to Covid-19, taking the total number of deaths to 4706, surpassing the toll in neighbouring China, where the virus emerged last year.
Despite the rapidly increasing infections, India has progressively relaxed restrictions including opening up air travel.
While there are concerns over rising cases, there is enormous economic pressure in the country as millions of people are unemployed because of the pandemic.
Broadcaster NDTV reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on Friday on the strategy ahead for the lockdown which ends on Sunday and weighing how to restart economic activity amid the increase in virus cases.
An exodus of migrants is under way from urban centres to their home districts, raising fears the infections will spread in rural areas where the health infrastructure is particularly poor.
India is ninth for infections worldwide, just behind Germany and France. But in terms of fatalities, India is 13th.