New Delhi: After the coronavirus cases across the country crossed 1.40 lakh-mark, India on Monday entered the list of 10 countries worst hit by the novel coronavirus. The development comes after the country recorded a major spike in the number of cases for four consecutive days, surpassing Iran, according to the John Hopkins University (JHU) data. Also Read - Karan Johar's Two Helpers Test Positive For Coronavirus, Filmmaker And Family Test Negative

The country registered 154 deaths and a record jump of 6,977 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 1,41,472 and death toll to 4,147 on Monday with some experts attributing the spike in cases to the lockdown relaxations, including the partial resumption of rail services and road transport along with the return of the migrant workers. Also Read - Nepal: Coronavirus Cases Cross 680-mark With 4 Deaths, PM Oli Again Blames India For Its Spread

At this critical time of corona crisis, the domestic passenger flights also resumed operations on Monday after a gap of nearly two months. Also Read - Staffer at Rail Bhawan Tests Positive For Coronavirus; Fifth Case in 2 Weeks in Same Building

The JHU data further stated that India is the tenth most-affected nation by the pandemic after US, Russia, UK, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Turkey and France.

The country has recorded 6,088, 6,654, 6,767 and 6977 cases on May 22, 23, 24 and 25 respectively. Also, the number of RT-PCR tests for detection of COVID-19 in the country crossed the 30-lakh mark on Monday.

Giving remarks on the partial resumption of rail and road transport services, Dr Chandrakant S Pandav, former president of Indian Public Health Association and Indian Association of Preventive and social medicine told news agency PTI that these relaxations will create an enabling environment for the coronavirus infection to flourish in the country.

“Now, the government will have to ensure strong surveillance and monitoring so as to curb the infection which otherwise will overwhelm the healthcare system,” Pandav, former HOD of the Centre for Community Medicine at AIIMS, said.

On the other hand, Professor K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India said an increase in the number of cases reflects both an increase in testing rates and an increase in spread.

“What we need to see is the number of new tests performed per day and the number of new cases that were identified from them. We also have to see if the testing criteria have remained the same between the two periods of comparison”We may open up gradually but will have to continue case detection, contact tracing and follow personal protection measures as vigorously as possible,” he added.

Citing various studies, the Centre on Monday said that in the first two phases of the lockdown, 14-29 lakh COVID-19 cases were averted while the number of lives saved in that period was between 37,000 and 78,000.

The government also asserted that the unprecedented shutdown has paid rich dividends in the fight against the pandemic. The number of active COVID-19 cases climbed to 77,103 on Monday while 57,720 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, it said.

The total fatalities so far in the country include 1,635 deaths from Maharashtra followed by Gujarat with 858 deaths, Madhya Pradesh 290, West Bengal 272, Delhi 261, Rajasthan 63, Uttar Pradesh 161,Tamil Nadu 111 and Andhra Pradesh 56.

(With PTI inputs)