India's coronavirus deaths rose by a record 3,780 during the last 24 hours, a day after the country became the world's second, after the United States, to cross the grim milestone of 20 million infections.
Daily infections rose by 382,315 on Wednesday, health ministry data showed.
India halted its hugely popular cricket league on Tuesday as COVID-19 infections surged past 20 million in the world’s second-most populous country and the opposition leader said a nationwide lockdown was now the only way out.
Cricket officials suspended the money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) as the pandemic spirals out of control, with the country adding 10 million cases in just over four months, after taking more than 10 months to reach the first 10 million.
“While we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times,” the IPL said.
With 3.45 million active cases, India recorded 357,229 new infections over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose by 3,449 to 222,408, health ministry data showed.
With hospitals running out of beds and oxygen and morgues and crematoria overflowing, experts say the actual numbers could be five to 10 times higher.
According to a Reuters tally, total infections were more than 20.2 million, second only to the United States.
"The only way to stop the spread of corona now is a full lockdown ... GOI’s inaction is killing many innocent people," opposition Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter, referring to the government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, widely criticised for allowing religious festivals and political gatherings attended by hundreds of thousands of largely unmasked people, is reluctant to impose a national lockdown for fear of the economic fallout, but several states have imposed social curbs.
The eastern state of Bihar ordered a lockdown until May 15, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said. With more than 100,000 infections, its death toll is nearing 3,000, government figures show.