India has now taken the fourth spot in the list of nations worst hit by Coronavirus. The country logged 2,95,772 cases on Thursday evening, overtaking the UK, which was in the fourth spot so far, with 2,91,588 cases. India is now preceded only by Russia, Brazil and the US. Russia currently has 4.93 lakh cases and Brazil 7.72 lakh. The US has the maximum number -- more than 20 lakh.
The coronavirus numbers have been increasing exponentially since the May 24, when India entered the list of top 10. It has just 18 days to reach the fourth slot. On the way it has left behind Italy and Spain, two of the nations badly hit by the highly contagious virus, which surfaced in China's Wuhan in December and became a global pandemic by March.
The surge of cases in the country came amid the world's biggest lockdown. On March 25, when the lockdown was declared, the country had a little over 500 cases. Ten people had died.
Over the last weeks, the virus has been increasing exponentially, logging more than 9000 cases. The last 24 hours' increase, 9,996, was the highest ever.
The number of fatalities also saw a record single-day increase of over 350 to move closer to the 8,500-mark. A majority of the deaths, 3.483, were reported from Maharashtra. More than one-third of the countrywide figure has been recorded in June, when the phased exit from some of the most rigorous lockdown restrictions -- on malls, restaurants and religious places -- took effect.
Maharashtra, the country's biggest coronavirus hotspot, is about to touch the 1 lakh-mark with 97,648 cases. It is followed by Tamil Nadu and Delhi. The national capital has a total of 34,687 cases.
The numbers had progressively shot up as the Centre started a phased relaxation from April, through the lockdown has been extended four times and is now in its fifth phase that is slated to end on June 30.
But buses, trains and domestic flights have started functioning and most offices, markets, malls and even religious places are open, though they are allowed to function only with the strictest security measures.
The virus had reached India in January. The first case was detected in Kerala on January 30, the patient was a student who was studying at the Wuhan University.
The numbers started shooting up in March, pushing state after states to announce restrictions days before the Centre announced the countrywide lockdown on March 25.