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India sets another daily COVID-19 case record; global numbers climb

Indian health workers attend to a suspected COVID-19-positive patient at a hospital in Kolkata, India, on Saturday. Photo by Piyal Adhikary/EPA-EFE
Indian health workers attend to a suspected COVID-19-positive patient at a hospital in Kolkata, India, on Saturday. Photo by Piyal Adhikary/EPA-EFE

April 24 (UPI) -- India reported a record number of new coronavirus cases for the third day in a row as the overall global daily caseload rose to unprecedented levels.

India reported 346,786 new cases -- the highest figure any country has recorded in a single day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic -- and 2,624 deaths Friday. Cases have increased by 156% and deaths by 221% over the past two weeks, according to a New York Times analysis.

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The country has reported 16.6 million cases and 189,544 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

India's daily caseload has skyrocketed past its previous high of about 97,000, set in September.

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The country has struggled to keep up with oxygen demands as hospitalization rates increase, with hospitals and medical workers taking to social media to highlight their needs.

A variant of the virus first identified in India -- B.1.617 -- is spreading throughout the country, CNN reported. The Indian Health Ministry said the variant is more infectious.

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health announced Saturday that it's detected its first case of the variant.

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"The first case of the Indian variant of COVID-19 was found in Switzerland," the agency said on Twitter. "This is a passenger who entered through a transit airport. The consultation on the inclusion of India on the list of countries at risk is ongoing."

Switzerland reported 2,113 new cases and 11 deaths Friday, with 646,500 cases and 10,567 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Iran has halted all flights to and from India and Pakistan as it handles its own spike in cases.

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"Now we face a new threat that is the Indian virus, which is worse than the English, Brazilian and South African ones," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday.

"If this virus also enters the country we will face a major problem."

Iran reported 22,900 cases and 380 deaths Friday, with a total of 2.38 million cases and 69,120 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

India's second wave of infections is fueling record daily cases worldwide. Johns Hopkins University's global tracker indicated there were more than 897,000 new cases reported Friday and 14,293 deaths.

Other than a reporting anomaly in December, Thursday represented the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day -- 899,000.

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Israel, meanwhile, reported no new deaths from COVID-19 for the first time in 10 months Thursday. The country's also leading the world in its vaccination rate, with about 120 doses administered per 100 people. The figure doesn't necessarily reflect the number of people fully vaccinated, as both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses.

Israel's health ministry said about 53% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Israel reported 85 cases Friday and has had 837,892 cases and 6,346 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

A year in pandemic: How COVID-19 changed the world

January 31, 2020
National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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