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Record number of Covid-19 cases in India as New Zealand travel ban kicks in

During the first full day of the travel ban from India to New Zealand, India recorded a whopping 169,914 new Covid-19 infections. 

It's the highest number of new daily cases of the virus recorded in India at any time during the pandemic.

Thirteen million people in India have contracted Covid-19 and the country's death toll sits at 170,209.

Last week India's Covid-19 crisis sparked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to announce the travel ban after a spike in returnees testing positive for the virus once quarantining in New Zealand.

The travel ban came into place at 4pm yesterday and will continue until at least April 28.

People with coronavirus have been left scrambling for medical treatment as India battles a fierce second wave, even field hospitals built last year to bolster resources are turning people away. 

Jeewan Jyot Hospital's Dr Sangram Kapale told the BBC this outbreak is unlike anything they've experienced before. 

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Jacinda Ardern says she would make the same decision on a temporary travel ban if a different country had been involved. Source: Q+A

"The [coronavirus] resilience has gone up, the infection issue has gone up. It is infecting young adults which is quite surprising," he said. 

Last year it took over six weeks for daily cases to mount up to numbers seen during the first wave peak. During mid-September the country reached just under 98,000 infections in one day. 

It's taken just 10 days for cases to skyrocket to unseen infection rates this time around, well above the previous daily record. 

India's Government is blaming people flouting Covid-19 precautions for the current surge, but many experts say that's not the case. 

Epidemiologist Gridhar Babu says the explanation for the rise is not that simple. 

"There is a great role for highly infectious variants of the virus which are spreading faster," he told the BBC. 

"And some of them might be even having the capacity to escape the immune system." 

Adding fuel to the fire, dozens of vaccination centres in the country's largest city of Mumbai have run out of vaccine doses- despite the Health Minister insisting there's no shortages. 

India's been mass producing and exporting doses for months. It's home to the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world; the Serum Institute. 

The worst-hit areas in India are in lockdown, but cases are rising rapidly in other parts now too. 

Nevertheless, it hasn't deterred election campaigns and huge festivals from taking place throughout the country.