India's coronavirus cases mounted to 7,42,417 on Wednesday with a single-day rise of 22,752 infections and 482 fresh deaths were reported even though the recovery rate further improved to over 61.5 per cent, according to Union Health Ministry data.
The death toll climbed to 20,642, the updated data at 8 am showed.
Amid surging cases, the health ministry said it has roped in specialist doctors from the AIIMS here to provide expert guidance and knowledge support on COVID-19 to doctors manning ICUs in state hospitals, in an effort to reduce the fatality rate.
The doctors will provide guidance on effective clinical management of coronavirus infected patients in the ICUs of different state hospitals through tele/video consultation.
"They will handhold the states in clinical management of COVID-19 patients to reduce the case fatality rate. These tele-consultation sessions for providing timely and expert guidance to the doctors in the states shall be conducted twice every week, on Tuesdays and Fridays," the ministry said in its statement.
10 hospitals with more than 1000 beds, including nine from Mumbai (Maharashtra) and one from Goa participated in the first session held on Wednesday.
A total of 17 such states shall be covered -- Delhi, Gujarat, Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, the ministry said.
The number of recoveries stands at 4,56,830, while there are 2,64,944 active cases of coronavirus currently in the country.
The rate of recovery among COVID-19 patients continues to increase and touched 61.53 per cent on Wednesday, the ministry said.
During the last 24 hours, a total of 16,883 COVID-19 patients have been cured, it said.
According to a PTI tally of figures based on reports by various states, the number of cases was 760418 cases and the death toll 21100.
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.
Growing healthcare infrastructure of various types of COVID facilities, adequately supported by ICU and oxygen supported beds, ventilators and other equipment, have facilitated and ensured timely detection and effective clinical management of COVID-19 positive cases, the ministry said.
With more coronavirus patients recovering, the gap between the number of recovered cases and active cases has increased by 1,91,886 as on date, it said.
The ministry said that the number of samples being tested for detection of COVID-19 is substantially growing every day with 2,62,679 samples being tested on Tuesday of which more than 53,000 samples have been tested in private laboratories.
The cumulative number of samples tested, as of now, is 1,04,73,771, the ministry said, adding that the tests per million stand at 7,180.
This is because of the sharply focussed "test, trace, treat" strategy of the central government, in coordination with the states and union territories, it said.
A crucial component in the appreciable growth in COVID-19 testing is the increased number of diagnostic labs across the country.
There are 795 labs in the government sector and 324 private labs.
Of the total 20,642 deaths reported till 8 am, Maharashtra accounted for the highest 9,250 fatalities followed by Delhi with 3,165 deaths, Gujarat with 1,977, Tamil Nadu with 1,636, Uttar Pradesh with 827, West Bengal with 804, Madhya Pradesh with 622, Rajasthan with 472 and Karnataka with 416 deaths.
The COVID-19 death toll reached 313 in Telangana, 279 in Haryana, 252 in Andhra Pradesh, 175 in Punjab, 143 in Jammu and Kashmir, 104 in Bihar, 43 in Uttarakhand, 42 in Odisha and 27 in Kerala.
Jharkhand has registered 22 deaths, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Puducherry 14 each, Himachal Pradesh 11, Goa eight, Chandigarh seven, Arunachal Pradesh two and Meghalaya, Tripura and Ladakh have reported one fatality each, according to the health ministry.
More than 70 per cent deaths took place due to comorbidities, it said.
Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases at 2,17,121, followed by Tamil Nadu at 1,18,594, Delhi at 1,02,831, Gujarat at 37, 550, Uttar Pradesh at 29,968, Telangana at 27,612 and Karnataka at 26,815, according to the ministry's data.
The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 23,837 in West Bengal, 21,404 in Rajasthan, 21,197 in Andhra Pradesh, 17,999 in Haryana and 15,627 in Madhya Pradesh.
It has risen to 12,570 in Bihar, 12,522 in Assam, 10,097 in Odisha and 8,931 in Jammu and Kashmir. Punjab has reported 6,749 novel coronavirus infections so far, while Kerala has 5,894 cases.
A total of 3,415 people have been infected by the virus in Chhattisgarh, 3,230 in Uttarakhand, 2,996 in Jharkhand, 1,903 in Goa, 1,704 in Tripura, 1,430 in Manipur, 1,083 in Himachal Pradesh and 1,041 in Ladakh.
Puducherry has recorded 930 COVID-19 cases, Nagaland 625, Chandigarh 494 and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu together have reported 405 cases.
Arunachal Pradesh has reported 276 cases, Mizoram has 197 cases, Andaman and Nicobar Islands has 147, Sikkim has registered 125 infections so far, while Meghalaya has recorded 80 cases.
"Our figures are being reconciled with the ICMR," the ministry said, adding that 5,018 cases are being reassigned to states.
State-wise distribution is subject to further verification and reconciliation, it added.