NEW DELHI: India has reported 45,903 new coronavirus cases, with its capital recording the highest single-day rise in infections since the pandemic began.
The Health Ministry on Monday (Nov 9) also reported 490 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities in the country to 126,611.
New Delhi's increase of 7,745 cases comes during a recent surge the government has attributed to crowding in markets during the ongoing festive season, winter weather and high air pollution.
The capital’s air quality levels are plummeting to the “severe” category. A recent government report projected New Delhi may see up to 15,000 daily cases in the winter months.
India has counted more than 8.5 million cases since the pandemic began, the second-highest behind the United States.
Separately, India's environmental court on Monday ordered a ban on firecrackers during the country's biggest annual festival in cities battling hazardously poor air quality, citing a link between pollution and a coronavirus surge.
Experts have raised concerns about air pollution worsening the symptoms of respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19.
The National Green Tribunal said the role of pollution in the COVID-19 crisis meant that the ban was needed ahead of Diwali celebrations on Saturday.
Traditionally, millions of firecrackers are set off during Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light, but the practice has been blamed for worsening air pollution - especially in northern India which suffers from serious smog every winter.
The tribunal, whose powers are similar to a regular court, said that pollution caused by fireworks was an "aggravating risk to lives and health". It said a general ban in all cities with rising air pollution should last until Nov 30.