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India‘s confirmed Covid-19 cases has surpassed five million as the soaring numbers continue to test the country’s health care system.

Officials reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation’s confirmed total to 5,020,359, about 0.35 per cent of its nearly 1.4 billion population.

They said 1,290 more people died in the past day, for a total of 82,066.

The country’s total coronavirus caseload is closing in on the United States’ highest tally of more than 6.6 million cases, and expected to surpass it within weeks.

India reported a record daily high of 97,570 cases on September 11 and has added more than one million cases this month alone.

Experts warned that India’s case fatality rate could increase in coming weeks with lockdown restrictions relaxed except in high-risk areas.

But authorities ruled out imposing a second countrywide lockdown as recoveries were growing at more than 78 per cent.

Its fatality rate is 1.6 per cent, far lower than 3 per cent each in the United States and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Most of India’s deaths are concentrated in its large cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune.

However, smaller urban centres in Mahrashtra like Nagpur or Jalgaon have also reported more than 1,000 deaths.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said only about 6 per cent of the coronavirus patients in India were on oxygen.

Some 0.31 per cent were said to be on ventilators, 2.17 per cent on intensive care unit beds with oxygen and 3.69 per cent on oxygen beds.

Maharashtra state, with more than 1 million cases, remains the worst affected region in India, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

These states account for more than 60 per cent of coronavirus cases in the country.

The Health Ministry said 155 health workers, including 46 doctors, have died so far due to Covid-19.