A health worker collects nasal swab samples at a Covid-19 testing center in Hyderabad, India, on April 12.

A health worker is collecting nasal swabs at a Covid-19 testing center in Hyderabad, India on April 12. Mahesh Kumar A./AP

India reported 261,500 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, the fourth straight day with more than 200,000 infections and the highest since the pandemic began. This emerges from a CNN balance sheet by the Indian Ministry of Health.

The Department of Health also reported 1,501 new deaths, the highest in nearly 10 months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a special meeting on Sunday to tackle the ongoing second wave health crisis and urged officials to stick to testing, follow-up and treatment.

The Indian states are experiencing a lack of oxygen in hospitals and Modi has called for the installation of 162 oxygen systems across the country to be accelerated, according to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

A context: The recent surge in cases has led Modi to urge pilgrims and religious groups to celebrate the month-long Kumbh Mela festival in order to symbolically break up and perform the necessary rituals, rather than physically gathering in the state of Uttarakhand.

“Now Kumbh should be carried out symbolically amid the ongoing corona crisis,” Modi tweeted on Saturday.

The Haridwar district of India, where the festival takes place, has reported a total of 5,505 cases since the festival began on April 1.

India hit the 13 million mark on April 9, adding another million cases in less than a week, surpassing 14 million cases on Thursday. According to the Indian Ministry of Health, India reported a total of 14,788,109 cases of coronavirus and 177,150 deaths on Sunday.