INTERNATIONAL

India Posts Record COVID-19 Cases

India's second wave of Coronavirus infections continued to swell as it reported a record 115,736 new cases on Wednesday, a 13-fold increase in just over two months.

The situation also raised pressure on the government to expand its vaccination campaign.

The federal government has asked states to decide on local curbs to control the spread of the virus, but has so far refused to impose any national lockdown after the last one in 2020 devastated its economy and left millions of people penniless.

The total number of cases since the first recorded infection in India just over a year ago now stands at 12.8 million, making it the third worst hit country after the united states and brazil.

According to data from the health ministry deaths rose by 630 - the most in four days - to 166,177.

The daily increase has topped 100,000 twice this week. The only other country to post such numbers has been the United States.

And as the second wave gathered momentum, authorities in many states including hardest hit Maharashtra have ordered new local restrictions to contain the virus, some of whose variants have become more infectious.

India has a major challenge inoculating its own population. Many states have criticized the federal government as the government has restricted its immunization drive to front-line workers and people aged over 45 years.

The head of the serum institute of India, one of the world's largest manufacturers of Coronavirus vaccines, has said its production capacity is "very stressed".