India on Saturday registered over 400,000 new cases (401,078 exact) of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for a third consecutive time, taking the caseload to over 21.8 million, according to the Union health ministry's dashboard. As many as 4,187 people succumbed to the disease on Friday and the toll has now climbed to 238,270 with a fatality rate of 1.09%. More than 17.9 million have recovered so far while the active cases are at 3,723,446 and account for nearly 17% of the caseload.
India is the third country after the United States (US) and Brazil to have recorded over 4,000 deaths in a single day. According to worldometers.info, United States had recorded the highest single-day deaths due to Covid-19 at 4,490 on January 12.
On the other hand, India had seen 414,188 fresh cases on Friday, the highest single day -spike across the world on that day.
More than 1.8 million samples were tested in the country in the last 24 hours and the cumulative testing figures have reached 300,410,043, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
India's health infrastructure is currently overburdened and is struggling to contain the spread of the Covid-19 disease under the deadlier second wave of the pandemic. For the past several weeks, states and Union territories (UTs) have reported a shortage of hospital beds, oxygen supplies, essential Covid-19 drugs and ventilators due to the unprecedented rise in cases and deaths on a daily basis.
As the country is staring at a third wave of infections, the Centre said on Friday the wave can be avoided if strong measures against Covid-19 are taken and effectively implemented at the state, district and city level.
Addressing a press conference, K Vijay Raghavan, the country's principal scientific adviser said the 'insidious asymptomatic transmission' can be stopped if the guidance about precautions, surveillance, containment, treatment and testing is followed. "The guidance about precautions, about surveillance, about containment, about treatment and about tests. This insidious asymptomatic transmission can be stopped if we follow the guidelines. This sounds difficult, it is difficult and we can and must do it," he added, according to news agency PTI.
Raghavan's remarks on Friday come two days after he had warned that as Covid-19 mutates, a third wave of infections is inevitable and it is crucial to be prepared for new waves of the virus.