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India sets global record for daily COVID-19 infections

India sets global record for daily COVID-19 infections
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India surpassed the previous record for the most new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period on Thursday as health officials deal with a staggering surge that threatens to totally overwhelm the country's health system.

Health officials in India reported more than 314,000 new cases of the virus Thursday, according to local data gathered by Johns Hopkins University. The new milestone surpasses the previous record for COVID-19 cases over a one-day period, which was set by the U.S. on Jan. 2 when the Trump administration reported just over 300,000 cases in a single day.

The country's hospital system is struggling to keep up, with many hospitals especially in the capital area unable to take in more patients, forcing many with severe symptoms to remain home.

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“The country is today fighting a very big battle against COVID-19. The situation had improved for a while, but the second COVID-19 wave has come like a storm,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday during a national address, according to The Guardian.

“I express my condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones due to COVID-19," he added. "Just like a member of your family, I am with you in this hour of sadness. The battle is long and difficult, but we have to overcome it together with our dedication and courage.”

The surge in cases comes following major political rallies and a large Hindu festival was attended by millions in recent weeks, according to NBC News.

France moved Wednesday to implement travel restrictions on India and several other countries experiencing COVID-19 waves, which will go into effect this weekend.

On Monday, officials implemented a weeklong lockdown affecting India's capital, New Delhi, as the city had less than 100 ICU beds available to service the city's 30 million people at the time.

"We really don't know what the cause of the surge is. What is worrying is that entire families are getting infected. This is a completely new trend," a top health official in the Indian state of Maharashtra told the BBC in February.