The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 723 with 37 fatalities reported since Thursday evening, while the number of cases saw a record jump of 1,752 to go up to 23,452 cases on Friday, according to the Union health ministry.
The previous highest single day increase was on April 20 when 1,540 cases were reported.
The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 17,915 as 4,813 people were cured and discharged, and one patient migrated, the ministry said.
Thus, about 20.52 per cent of the cases have recovered so far, an official of the ministry said.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that 23,502 samples have been confirmed positive as on April 24 at 9 am.
The health ministry's figure of 23,452 cases include 77 foreign nationals.
A total of 37 deaths were reported since Thursday evening of which 14 fatalities were reported from Maharashtra, nine from Gujarat, three from Uttar Pradesh, two each from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh,Tamil Nadu and Telengana and one from Karnataka, the ministry's data stated.
Of the 723 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 283 fatalities, followed by Gujarat at 112, Madhya Pradesh at 83, Delhi at 50, Andhra Pradesh at 29, Rajasthan at 27 and Telengana at 26.
A four-month-old baby girl became the youngest victim of COVID-19 in Kerala on Friday. She was admitted to the Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode on April 21 with history of fever, cough, breathing difficulties and seizure after being treated at two other hospitals.
The death toll reached 24 in Uttar Pradesh, 20 in Tamil Nadu while Karantaka has reported 18 deaths.
Punjab has registered 16 deaths while West Bengal has reported 15 fatalities. The disease has claimed five lives in Jammu and Kashmir, while Kerala, Jharkhand and Haryana have recorded three COVID-19 deaths each.
Bihar has reported two deaths, while Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Assam have reported one fatality each, according to the ministry data.
However, a PTI tally of the figures reported by various states as on Friday showed 23,577 cases and 743 deaths in the country.
There has been a lag in the Union health ministry figures, compared to the number of deaths announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.
According to the ministry's data updated in the evening, the highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 6,430 followed by Gujarat at 2,624, Delhi at 2,376, Rajasthan at 1,964, Madhya Pradesh at 1,852 and Tamil Nadu at 1,683.
The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 1,604 in Uttar Pradesh, 984 in Telangana and 955 in Andhra Pradesh. The number of cases has risen to 514 in West Bengal, 448 in Kerala, 463 in Karnataka, 427 in Jammu and Kashmir, 277 in Punjab and 272 in Haryana.
Bihar has reported 176 coronavirus cases, while Odisha has 90 cases. Fifty-five people have been infected with the virus in Jharkhand and 47 in Uttarakhand. Himachal Pradesh has 40 cases, Chhattisgarh and Assam have registered 36 infections each so far.
Chandigarh has 27 COVID-19 cases, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 22 while 18 cases have been reported from Ladakh.
Meghalaya has reported 12 cases, and Goa and Puducherry have seven COVID-19 cases each.
Manipur and Tripura have two cases each, while Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have reported a case each.
The new cases of confirmed infections included seven police personnel, including four women, in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The state on Friday announced a complete shutdown beginning Sunday in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and some other places, disallowing even grocery shops and fully curtailing the public movement.
The Union Home Ministry, in the meantime, flagged that the COVID-19 situation is especially serious in some major or emerging hotspot areas including Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad and Chennai. It also said that violations of lockdown measures reported in some parts of the country pose a serious health hazard to public and may lead to the spread of COVID-19.
The Centre has sent 10 central teams for spot assessment of the COVID-19 hotspot districts across the country, including five new ones -- Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat, Thane in Maharashtra, Hyderabad in Telangana and Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Earlier, similar teams were sent for Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, Indore in Madhya Pradesh and Jaipur in Rajasthan, besides two teams for West Bengal.
Addressing village panchayat heads and members through video conferencing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the coronavirus pandemic has taught the country 'to be self-reliant and self-sufficient' and not look for solutions abroad, as he stressed that every village, district and state should be able to provide for its basic needs.
He also applauded rural India for its simple and motivating mantra of 'Do Gaz Ki Doori' to popularise social distancing.
Separately, several medical experts said the prevailing restrictions have been crucial in preventing a situation similar to the US or Europe, but cautioned that a "bigger challenge" awaits the country when it gradually move towards exiting the nationwide lockdown.
Some scientists also warned that the trajectory of COVID-19 cases could have plateaued and might even fall for some weeks after the lockdown is lifted but India is likely to see a second wave in late July or August with a surge in the number of cases during the monsoon.
"It looks apparent that the trajectory of daily new cases has reached a plateau and eventually it will take a downward fall, maybe for some weeks or even months," Samit Bhattacharya, associate professor at the Department of Mathematics, Shiv Nadar University, told PTI.
Rajesh Sundaresan, professor at Bengaluru's Indian Institute of Science (IISc), said, "Once we return to normal activity levels, there is a chance that infection may begin to rise again. China is seeing this to some extent post easing of some restrictions on travel."
Reviewing India's military preparedness at a high-level meeting, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh separately directed the country's top military brass to ensure that India's adversaries do not get any opportunity to push their 'evil design' by taking advantage of the country's focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
Singh also asked the armed forces to avoid wasteful expenditure and make sure judicious utilisation of funds considering the downturn in the economy triggered by the pandemic.
Officials at the government's daily press briefing on the COVID-19 situation, however, sounded confident that the fight against the deadly virus outbreak was progressing well and the nationwide lockdown announced by Modi was a timely step.
Niti Ayog member V K Paul said the lockdown has been effective in slowing the rate at which COVID-19 cases is doubling in India, and it now stands at 10 days, as against three days on March 21.
Paul, who is also heading one of the empowered groups set up to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, said the curve has begun to flatten.
"Had we not taken the decision of clamping the nationwide lockdown, we would have had around 1 lakh COVID-19 cases by now, as per a reasonable estimate. Now, the outbreak is under control," he said.
Officials, however, said these projections are based on the growth pattern at a particular time.
Director of National Centre for Disease Control S K Singh that surveillance has been the country's primary weapon in the fight against novel coronavirus.
"We started our surveillance mechanism even before the first case was reported in India. This played an important role in helping us contain the spread of the infection," Singh said.
He said around 9.45 lakh suspected coronavirus cases are under the surveillance network at present and upon detection of symptoms of the infection, samples are taken from these people for testing.
Singh said the surveillance network has been set up at district level as well, so that household survey, quarantine and isolation are done as part of cluster containment plan.
Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said in the last 28 days, as many as 15 districts have had no new case, while there are 80 districts in the country that have not reported any new coronavirus case in the last 14 day.
In Delhi, where more than 800 people have recovered so far including at least 723 in six days till Thursday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the plasma therapy trial conducted on four patients here has yielded 'very encouraging' initial results, giving a ray of hope to seriously-ill coronavirus patients.
Karnataka is also likely to start the Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) for COVID-19 patients, who are critical, from Saturday, state's medical education minister K Sudhakar said.