People in the Indian state of West Bengal are voting in the final phase of elections despite a rising caseload.

Long queues were seen outside polling booths, raising concerns about the further spread of Covid amidst a deadly second wave sweeping the country.

Experts already fear that West Bengal could be the next epicentre of the virus, given the fact that campaigning has continued there with large crowds.

It had more than 17,000 cases in the last 24 hours – its highest spike.

The state has already seen seven phases of voting. The eastern state is one of the few where Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not have a majority of seats.

There has been a lot of criticism that he continued to hold large rallies there even as the virus began overwhelming the country.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed, oxygen is in critically low supply and crematoriums are operating non-stop.

The overall death toll officially surpassed 200,000 though experts believe the actual number could be much higher.

The country also reported 379,257 new infections on Thursday, the world’s highest single-day total.

It was the deadliest day so far, with 3,645 people succumbing to the coronavirus.

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