India: Cases hit record as total nears 3 million

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India reported a record daily jump of coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing the total near 3 million and piling pressure on authorities to curb huge gatherings as a major religious festival began.

The 69,878 new infections – the fourth straight day above 60,000 – take India’s total cases to 2.98 million, behind only the United States and Brazil. COVID-19 deaths increased by 945 to 55,794, data from the federal health ministry showed.

For most of western India, especially the financial capital Mumbai, the 11-day festival of Hindu elephant-headed god Ganesh is usually celebrated with big public gatherings.

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Cases have plateaued in Mumbai, which now averages just above 1,000 a day and has recorded more than 134,000 in total. But strict pandemic regulations have meant the festival season, which begins this month, has been lackluster.

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