India reported 247,417 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the most since late May, according to data from the health ministry.
India has eased its COVID-19 rules on testing, quarantine and hospital admissions in a bid to free up resources for its neediest people, a strategy hailed by experts even though it carries the risk of a heavy undercount of infections and deaths.
The moves will offer a breathing space for healthcare facilities, often overstretched in a far-flung nation of 1.4 billion, as they battle a 33-fold surge in infections over the past month from the highly contagious Omicron variant.
This week, federal authorities told states to drop mandatory testing for contacts of confirmed cases unless they were old or battling other conditions, while halving the isolation period to a week and advising hospital care only for the seriously ill.
"Contact-tracing has been the most resource-intensive activity since the pandemic began," said Sanjay K. Rai, a professor of community medicine at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, the capital.
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