India on Thursday morning reported new 13,154 coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, taking the country’s tally since the pandemic began last year to 3,48,22,040, data from the health ministry showed. This is 43% higher than Wednesday’s count of 9,195 cases.

The total number of Covid cases in the country crossed 10,000 after a little over a month. On November 26, India reported 10,549 infections.

The toll increased to 4,80,860 with 268 new fatalities. The country’s active caseload increased by 5,400 in the past 24 hours and stood at 82,402.

Cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in India rose from 781 to 961 on Thursday, the health ministry said. Omicron was first reported in the country on December 2 and has now spread to 22 states and Union Territories.

The most Omicron infections have been reported from Delhi (263), followed by Maharashtra (252) and Gujarat (97).

The health ministry said that 320 out of the 961 people who tested positive for the new variant have recovered or migrated.

Punjab recorded its first Omicron case on Wednesday after a 36-year-old man who came from Spain tested positive for the new variant.

Surge of cases in 3 states

Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat on Wednesday reported a big jump in daily Covid cases. Maharashtra reported 3,900 infections, marking a steep rise from the 2,172 cases detected in the state a day earlier.

The state recorded 20 deaths, taking the number of fatalities to 1,41,496, the health department said in a bulletin.

State capital Mumbai also recorded a sharp jump in cases with 2,510 infections, the highest daily increase since May 8, the civic body said. Wednesday’s cases marked an 82.2% jump from the previous day’s count of 1,377 cases. The city also recorded one death due to Covid-19.

On Thursday, the Mumbai Police prohibited gatherings of five or more residents by imposing Section 144 in the city till January 7.

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope had on Wednesday hinted that more restrictions would be imposed soon if people did not strictly follow the guidelines. “It is being seen that social functions and gatherings are going on in an unbridled manner with people throwing caution to the winds by not adhering to pandemic norms,” he added.

Meanwhile, Delhi recorded 923 new coronavirus cases, a 86% jump from Tuesday’s count of 496 infections. This is also the highest count since May 30, according to health department data.

The positivity rate rose to 1.29% from 0.89% on Tuesday. No deaths were reported, the bulletin stated.

Despite the surge, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Wednesday said it would not impose more restrictions in the city.

Gujarat reported 548 daily cases, taking its overall tally to 8,30,505, while one more patient succumbed to the infection in the state, the health department said. The caseload crossed the 500-mark for the first time after nearly seven months, PTI reported.

The United States and countries across Europe are also reporting record new cases. The World Health Organization said the simultaneous circulation of the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus is driving a “tsunami of cases”.