With its cases set to hit 750,000, India is now the worst-hit country in the world without any community transmission of COVID-19, local media reported on Wednesday.

The country of over 1.3 billion has registered an average of 22,000 infections every day over the past week – a growth rate of 3.5%, according to local daily Times of India.

However, other countries that maintain they have not reached the community transmission stage, such as Russia, Egypt, and Pakistan, have seen a growth rate of 2%, with cases increasing by around 7,000 per day, the report said.

India reported 482 fatalities and 22,752 coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 20,642 and overall case count to 742,417, the Health Ministry said.

With 262,679 more on Tuesday, over 10.47 million samples have now been tested for COVID-19 in the country, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Meanwhile, the eastern state of West Bengal has announced a strict lockdown in specific areas from July 9 after a spike in virus cases.

A government order said: “All private and government offices in containment zones and buffer zones will remain shut. Only essential services will be available in these zones and transport services will remain suspended till further notice.”

Across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 544,200 lives in 188 countries and regions since emerging in China last December.

Almost 11.83 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the US, Brazil, India, and Russia currently the worst-hit countries, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows more than 50% of all patients worldwide — over 6.44 million — have recovered so far.

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