India adds 326,098 new Covid cases, 3,890 more deaths; tally over 24.37 million

**EDS: TO GO WITH STORY**Mumbai: Gynaecologist Amol Pawar, wearing PPE kit, attends a patient in the Covid-19 ward of Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital, in Mumbai, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)(PTI05_08_2021_000040B)

New Delhi: India on Saturday recorded 326,098 new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases and 3,890 more deaths, taking the caseload and the death toll to 24,372,907 and 266,207 respectively, according to the Union health ministry’s dashboard.

As many as 353,299 people recovered in the last 24 hours and the total recoveries have climbed to 20,432,898 and constitute 83.50% of the caseload. The active cases stand at 3,673,802.

Nearly 1.7 million samples (1,693,093 to be exact) were tested for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative testing figures to 313,017,193 , according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Saturday’s case count is 17,046 less than that of Friday’s when 343,144 people tested positive for the disease. India is severely hit by the deadlier second wave of the pandemic and is reporting a high increase in cases and deaths on a daily basis. This increase has led to a near collapse of the country’s health infrastructure with states and Union territories (UTs) flagging shortage of oxygen supplies, hospital beds, vaccine doses and essential drugs such as Remdesivir and Tocilizumab.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that the Covid-19 disease situation in India remains hugely concerning as several states continue to see high numbers of cases, deaths and hospitalisations. Addressing a press conference, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the WHO is responding to the Covid crisis in India and has supplied thousands of oxygen concentrators, masks, tents for mobile field hospitals and other medical equipment, news agency PTI reported.

The Centre, meanwhile, said on Thursday that Covid-19 can emerge again adding preparations have to be made at a national level in cooperation with states and UTs, infrastructure needs to be ramped up and all Covid-related curbs and appropriate behaviour should be followed.

Amid the worsening situation in the country, several states including Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka etc have opted for lockdowns in order to break the chain of transmission. Maharashtra, the worst-hit state from the pandemic, extended its lockdown-like restrictions till 7am on June 1. The state, which is seeing a decline in its daily infections, has so far added 5,309,215 cases and 79,552 deaths.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced on Friday that the ongoing state-wide lockdown will be extended by another week to May 23, owing to the massive rise in cases and deaths. The Bihar government on Thursday extended the lockdown for another 10 days till May 25, after the state started seeing a fall in cases during the previous lockdown which was supposed to end today.