With a highest single-day spike of 64,399 cases, India's Covid-19 tally zoomed past 21 lakh yesterday, while the death toll climbed to 43,379 with 861 more fatalities, the Union Health Ministry said.
The country now has a total of 21,53,010 recorded cases, with the highest single day spike. This is the third consecutive day that the Covid-19 cases have increased by more than 60,000 infections in 24 hours, according to the ministry's data.
India had crossed the 20 lakh mark on Friday and it took only 2 days to cross 21 lakh mark.
So far 14,80,884 patients have recovered with record 53,879 more people recuperating in the past 24 hours, taking recovery rate to 68.78 percent. The case fatality rate has dropped 2.01 percent, according to the health ministry data.
"Focused and effective efforts towards containment, testing, isolation and treatment by the Centre, states and Union Territories have resulted in the recovery rate rising to 68.32 percent and fatality rate steadily declining to 2.04 percent, " the ministry said.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) as many as 7,19,364 samples were tested on Saturday, the highest in a day so far. A total of 2,41,06,535 samples have been tested so far in the whole country.
"India is performing around 500 tests for detection of Covid-19 per minute and the per-day testing capacity has increased over five lakhs," scientist and ICMR media coordinator Lokesh Sharma was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
Meanwhile, the United States set a record for coronavirus cases on Saturday, with more than 5 million people now infected, according to a Reuters tally.
The country has recorded more than 160,000 deaths, nearly a quarter of the world's total.
The grim milestone comes as President Donald Trump signed executive orders intended to provide economic relief to Americans hurt by the pandemic after the White House failed to reach a deal with Congress.
Trump said the orders would provide an extra $400 per week in unemployment payments, less than the $600 per week passed earlier in the crisis. Some of the measures were likely to face legal challenges, as the US Constitution gives Congress authority over federal spending.
"This is the money they need, this is the money they want, this gives them an incentive to go back to work," the Republican president said of the lower payments. He said 25% of it would be paid by states, whose budgets have been hard hit by the crisis.
Republicans have argued that higher payments were a disincentive for unemployed Americans to try to return to work, though economists, including Federal Reserve officials, disputed that assertion.
Australia's second-most populous state, Victoria, reported its deadliest day of the Covid-19 outbreak yesterday, with 17 people dying, as police thwarted a planned anti-mask rally in the capital of Melbourne.
Victoria, at the centre of a second wave of infections in Australia, reported 394 cases in the past 24 hours, compared with a daily average of 400-500 over the past week. The new deaths bring the state's total to 210.
Brazil on Saturday surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths and three million cases of infection, crossing the grim milestone after President Jair Bolsonaro said he had a "clear conscience" on his response to the outbreak.
With 100,477 fatalities and 3,012,412 confirmed cases, the South American nation of 212 million people is the second hardest-hit country in the global pandemic, after the United States.
The health ministry reported 905 new deaths in the past 24 hours, as well as 49,970 fresh cases.
The coronavirus has killed at least 727,288 people globally since it emerged in China last December, with at least 19,674,290 cases meaning the 20 million mark is likely to be breached in the next few days.
According to an AFP tally, some 11,665,200 people are now considered to have recovered from the illness.
In France, growing infections in and around Paris have prompted officials to make face masks compulsory outdoors in crowded areas and tourist hotspots in the city and surrounding areas from today.
The mask will be obligatory for all those aged 11 and over "in certain very crowded zones," said a police statement, including the banks of the Seine River and more than 100 streets in the French capital.
Several resort towns on the Belgian coast said they will bar day-trippers after fights broke out between police and youths told to leave a beach for refusing to respect coronavirus safety measures.
New Zealand marked 100 days yesterday with no recorded cases of the coronavirus in the community but health officials warned there was no room for complacency.
There are still 23 active cases but all were detected at the border when entering the country and are being held in managed isolation facilities.
"Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can't afford to be complacent," director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said.