India reached a grim milestone on Wednesday as the total number of coronavirus cases in the country crossed the three-crore mark. Since the pandemic began in January 2020, India has recorded 3,00,28,709 infections.

India is now only the second country, after the United States, which has 3.35 crore cases, to reach this landmark. India surpassed the one-crore cases mark on December 19, and the two-crore mark on May 4.

As many as 50,848 cases were added over the past 24 hours. This is a 19% increase since Tuesday, when 42,640 cases were reported.

Data from the health ministry showed that active cases have dropped to 6,43,194 – the lowest in 82 days. The recovery rate has improved to 96.56%.

The toll in India rose by 1,358 to 3,90,660. However, experts suspect that the death tally is significantly more than the official figure.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Tuesday termed the Delta plus strain of the coronavirus a “variant of concern”, hours after Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog (Health) member VK Paul said it was only a “variant of interest”.

A “variant of concern” has the highest threat perception among other coronavirus variants because of its increased transmissibility, infectivity, or resistance to vaccines. The threat perception for a “variant of interest” is comparatively lower.

Reports said that there were over 40 cases of the Delta plus strain in India. The government has urged Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh to take effective steps to stop its spread.

Globally, the coronavirus disease has infected over 17.90 crore people and killed more than 38.80 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.