India registered 273,810 fresh coronavirus infections and 1,619 death on Monday, a new daily record amid a second wave of the pandemic overburdening health care infrastructure in affected states.
The latest figures took the total caseload to 15 million, with 178,769 deaths so far, the Health Ministry website showed.
This is the fifth straight day that more than 200,000 cases were reported - the highest surge in cases since the beginning of the pandemic last year.
New Delhi and several of the country's worst-hit states, including western Maharashtra, have complained of shortages of medical oxygen, beds and Covid-19 medicines in hospitals.
The federal government has said it will increase the supply of oxygen to 12 “high-burden” states. Oxygen meant for industry will be diverted for medical use. Indian Railways was preparing to run “oxygen express trains” to help fight the pandemic.
Indian social media has seen people constantly pleading for hospital beds, oxygen and drugs. Footage on news channels showed crematoria and graveyards struggling to keep up with deaths.
Delhi will enter a six-day lockdown beginning late on Monday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced, calling it a necessary step to prevent a bigger crisis in the capital.
Maharashtra and other worst-affected states have also announced curfews and stricter curbs.