India reports world's highest single-day Covid-19 death toll

A record 6,148 Covid-19 deaths were reported in India in the last 24 hours. Credit: AP Photo

By ITV News Journalist Sanjay Jha in IndiaIndia on Thursday reported a record 6,148 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest-ever single-day death toll from the virus across the world since the outbreak of the pandemic.

However, the number of new cases had started decreasing and remained fewer than 100,000 daily cases for three straight days.

This increase was recorded after the eastern Indian state of Bihar sharply raised its tally to account for people who succumbed to the disease at home or in private hospitals.

It wasn’t clear during which time period these deaths had occurred in Bihar, but this is the first time that the state has carried out a data cleaning exercise.

The Indian state of Bihar raised its Covid-19 deaths figures to account for deaths in homes and private hospitals. Credit: AP Photo

The health department of Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, revised its total Covid-related death toll on Wednesday to more than 9,400 from about 5,400, a 72.8% hike.

“These deaths had remained unaccounted earlier”, said Pratyaya Amrit, the state’s top civil servant in the health department.

“The increase was due to deaths reported at private hospitals, under home isolation and of post-Covid complications", he added.

Bihar revised its toll after the local High Court ordered an audit of casualties during the second wave of the coronavirus in April and May.

The court’s order followed allegations that the state government was hiding the scale of infections and deaths.

India’s total Covid cases count now stands at nearly 29.2 million with total fatalities at 359,676, according to data released by India’s health ministry.

Health experts have said that many deaths have not been recorded in COVID-19 tallies.

Doctors testimonies as well as the discovery of thousands of unreported deaths in Bihar, both lend weight to suspicions that India’s overall death tally is significantly higher than the official figure, this is because test facilities are rare in rural areas, where two-thirds of Indians live, and hospitals are few and far between.

After a feeble and bungled vaccine roll out, India decided to give adults free Covid shots from 21 June.

Listen to the latest episode of our coronavirus podcast: