India has seen a record 78,761 new coronavirus cases in the last day – the worst 24-hour spike ever recorded across the world in the pandemic.
The country’s health ministry also reported 948 deaths, taking the total number of fatalities there to 63,498.
India is one of the countries that has been worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, having seen the fourth highest number of people killed after the US, Brazil and Mexico.
The UK has had the fifth highest number of reported deaths in the world, with 12 new fatalities announced on Saturday, taking the total to 41,498.
Global case numbers have now reached 25 million according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been keeping track of the disease.
India’s trajectory is particularly worrying because it has the fastest-growing daily cases of any country, with more than 75,000 infections reported for four consecutive days.
The latest figure surpasses the previously biggest one-day jump in cases of 77,299, recorded in the US in mid-July.
Sunday’s surge comes at a time when the country is reopening its underground train networks and allowing sports and religious events with some limits from next month as part of efforts to revive the economy.
The crowded public transport system, a lifeline for millions of people in the capital New Delhi, will be reopened in a phased manner from 7 September.
Schools and colleges will, however, remain closed until the end of September.
Even as eight Indian states remain among the worst-hit regions and contribute nearly 73% of the total infections, the virus is now spreading fast in more sparsely-populated areas.
Earlier this week, members of a small secluded tribe in the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile in the US, a further 44,635 cases have been reported – nudging the total number there to nearly six million.
South Korea, which managed to control the spread of the virus in the early staged of the pandemic, has placed limits on restaurants and closed gyms in the capital after recording its 17th consecutive day of triple-digit increases – bringing total cases to 19,699 and 323 deaths.
And in Berlin, Germany, police broke up a mass protest against coronavirus restrictions on Saturday and arrested 300 for failing to socially distance and wear masks.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in
COVID-19’s trajectory still falls far short of the 1918 Spanish flu, which infected an estimated 500 million people and killed at least 10% of patients.
But experts worry the available information underplays the true impact of the pandemic, particularly in countries with limited or less advanced testing.
Around the world, there have been more than 842,000 deaths – far above the between 290,000 to 650,000 deaths that occur annually which are linked to influenza.