NEW DELHI, May 14 (Xinhua) -- India's COVID-19 tally crossed 24 million, reaching 24,046,809, on Friday with 343,144 new cases registered in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said.

The death toll increased to 262,317 with 4,000 more deaths since Thursday morning.

There are still 3,704,893 active cases in the country, a decrease of 5,632 in the past 24 hours. A total of 20,079,599 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals so far.

The COVID-19 figures continue to peak in India but the government has ruled out a nationwide complete lockdown, although many states have imposed night curfews and partial or complete lockdowns. The capital Delhi has been put under a third successive lockdown till May 17.

India kicked off the nationwide vaccination drive on Jan. 16. So far over 179 million vaccination doses have been administered across the country.

Meanwhile, the federal government has ramped up COVID-19 testing facilities, as 311,324,100 tests have been conducted till Thursday, out of which 1,875,515 tests were conducted on Thursday alone, said the latest data issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Friday.

Principal Scientific Advisor to India's Federal Government K. Vijay Raghavan had recently stated that a third COVID-19 wave was "inevitable" in the country.