India reported a record daily jump of coronavirus infections on Saturday (August 22), bringing the total near 3 million, piling pressure on authorities to curb huge gatherings as a major religious festival gets underway.
At least 69,878 new infections took India's total cases to around 2.98 million, behind only the United States and Brazil.
COVID-19 deaths increased by 945 to 55,794, according to data from the federal health ministry.
For most of western India, especially the financial capital Mumbai, the 11-day festival of Hindu 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.