India coronavirus cases jump by record as tally nears three million

India reported a record daily jump of coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing the total near 3 million and piling pressure on authorities to curb huge gatherings as a major religious festival began.

The 69,878 new infections - the fourth straight day above 60,000 - take India's total cases to 2.98 million, behind only the United States and Brazil. Covid-19 deaths increased by 945 to 55,794, data from the federal health ministry showed.

For most of western India, especially the financial capital Mumbai, the 11-day festival of Hindu elephant-headed god Ganesh is usually celebrated with big public gatherings.

Cases have plateaued in Mumbai, which now averages just above 1,000 a day and has recorded more than 134,000 in total. But strict pandemic regulations have meant the festival season, which begins this month, has been lacklustre.

In other news, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday said the number of American deaths due to the new coronavirus had risen by 1,155 to 174,645 and reported 5,598,547 cases, an increase of 46,754 cases from its previous count.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as Covid-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of Aug. 21 versus its previous report a day earlier.

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.