An Indian Municipal employee walks with his hand cart in front of a mural, as the country relaxed its lockdown restriction on June 08, 2020 in Delhi, India. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

India reported 61,408 coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, taking its total caseload past 3.1 million, data from the federal health ministry showed.

India crossed the 3 million cases milestone on Sunday, 17 days after it crossed the 2 million mark. It is the worst-affected country in Asia, and third behind Brazil and the United States globally.

The number of deaths in the last 24 hours was 836, taking the total to 57,542.

Many experts say, however, that the real scale of the infection is much higher.

Authorities in New Delhi said last week that an antibody study in the megacity suggested more than a quarter of the capital’s population had contracted the infection.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in late March that has been mostly eased in recent weeks.

But the epidemic has left Asia’s third-largest economy reeling, and tens of millions of people have lost their jobs and livelihoods.

Individual states and cities have imposed localised lockdowns — including Haryana and Punjab, where cases have spiked in recent weeks.

Previously the main hotspots have been the teeming megacities of New Delhi and Mumbai, home to some of the world’s biggest slums.

“At the moment we are seeing a fairly sharp rise in cases overall for India,” said K Srinath Reddy, of the non-governmental Public Health Foundation of India.