India's COVID-19 daily recoveries continued to outnumber the daily new cases for the eighth consecutive day, with 3,57,295 patients recuperating in a span of 24 hours.
The figure, as recorded by India's Health Ministry, comes as slowed vaccine deliveries have marred the country's fight against the pandemic, forcing many to miss their shots, and a rare but fatal fungal infection affecting Covid-19 patients has anxious doctors.
On Monday it reported 4,454 deaths in 24 hours - the second-highest daily figure so far - to take the total toll to 303,720, according to health ministry data.
Additionally, BJP president JP Nadda has asked party-ruled states to prepare a programme for the welfare of children orphaned by the COVID-19 pandemic, and said it should be launched on May 30 when the Modi government completes seven years in power. Almost 30,000 COVID-19 patients have died since May 15.
In villages, fever and breathlessness took people before they were even tested for coronavirus.
The next 100,000 deaths were recorded in just 27 days after new infections tore through dense cities and rural areas alike and overwhelmed health care systems on the brink of collapse.
But while megacities such as Mumbai and New Delhi see some signs of improvement, the virus appears to be taking a ghastly toll in the country's vast rural areas.
Besides, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country exceeded 19 crore.
Vardhan said the variant accounted for some 20 percent of just under 26,000 samples from positive Covid-19 tests that have been genetically sequenced.
The 4,454 new fatalities include 1,320 from Maharashtra, 624 from Karnataka, 422 from Tamil Nadu, 231 from Uttar Pradesh, 192 from Punjab, 189 from Delhi, 188 from Kerala, 156 from West Bengal, 107 from Bihar, and 104 from Andhra Pradesh.
Still, experts have warned India could face a third wave of infections in coming months, and many states are unable to vaccinate those aged under 45 due to a shortage of supplies.
More than 130 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated, and restrictions are being steadily eased in many parts of the country that has the highest number of known deaths and cases in the world. The toll hit 200,000 deaths in late April.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 167 million people and killed 3.4 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.