India posts record daily rise in COVID-19 deaths

PRAKASH SINGH / AFP

India on Saturday reported a record one-day rise in COVID-19 deaths as cases surged by more than 400,000 for the third consecutive day.

The health ministry recorded 4,187 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to just under 240,000.

Cases rose by 401,078, increasing the pandemic's total to 21.9 million.

Meanwhile, the southern state of Tamil Nadu announced new lockdown measures on Saturday.

Officials said the state-wide lockdown measures would begin on Monday and last until May 24.

Shops and other businesses will be allowed to open on Saturday and Sunday to give residents time to prepare for the sweeping shutdown.

Neighbouring Karnataka, home to India's tech capital Bengaluru, announced late on Friday it was extending movement restrictions, also until May 24.

The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India has brought the country's healthcare system to the brink of collapse, with a scarcity of hospital beds and oxygen.

Morgues and crematoriums have struggled to handle the number of dead and makeshift funeral pyres burn in parks and car parks.

Medical experts say the real numbers of COVID-19 cases and fatalities are likely to be far higher than official tallies.

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