India reported Thursday that its tally of new daily coronavirus cases has topped 300,000 for the first time, as the South Asian nation of over 1.3 billion people grapples with a new wave of infections and a shortage of hospital beds.

The government said it recorded around 315,000 new cases over a one-day period, bringing the total to around 15.93 million cases, the second most in the world after the United States.

India also reported 2,104 new fatalities from COVID-19, taking the total to around 185,000.

A so-called double mutation variant of the virus has been found in the country. The possibly more virulent variant is said to be driving the latest surge, but the government says that has yet to be proven.

Restrictions have been imposed in many parts of the country, while the cause of the rapid increase remains unknown. Local media have even reported the emergence of a triple mutation variant.

On Monday, the nation's capital region announced a six-day lockdown, with the local government warning its health system is on the verge of collapse.