India said Friday its coronavirus cases have exceeded the 9 million mark, becoming only the second country after the United States to reach the grim milestone.

But unlike the United States, where daily new cases are surging to new highs, the South Asian country has been seeing a much slower pace of increase in recent weeks.

Vendors are seen with their masks moved down in a commercial district in New Delhi on Sept. 4, 2020. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The world's second-most populous country now has 9,004,365 confirmed cases, with deaths totaling 132,162, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Its cases surpassed the 9 million mark after logging 45,882 new cases over a 24-hour period to Friday morning. That pales in comparison to the United States, which logged over 187,000 cases on Thursday to reach over 11.8 million cases in total, according to the New York Times.

Despite the declining trend nationally, New Delhi has been witnessing a sudden increase in its daily new cases since a festival season started late last month.

On Nov. 11, the capital region logged 8,593 new cases, its highest daily increase so far during the pandemic. On Thursday, the figure was 7,546.

The New Delhi government on the same day quadrupled fines on people not wearing masks in public spaces to 2,000 rupees ($27).

"Sometimes when words do not do the task, imposing restrictions on them becomes necessary," Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of the New Delhi government, told a press conference.

The health ministry had been reporting over 90,000 new daily cases in September. But the pace of increase has slowed to below 50,000 on most days in November.

India reported on Oct. 11 that its confirmed cases had surpassed 7 million, and on Oct. 29, it said they had exceeded 8 million.