10:34 GMT16 June 2021
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    • Members of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) patrol the Ganges River past shallow sand graves for people, some of whom are suspected to have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the banks of the river Ganges in Phaphamau on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, 21 May 2021.
    • A view shows shallow sand graves for people, some of whom are suspected to have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the banks of the Ganges River in Phaphamau on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, 21 May 2021.
    • Women walk past shallow sand graves for people, some of whom are suspected to have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the banks of the river Ganges in Shringaverpur on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, 21 May 2021.
    • A view shows shallow sand graves for people, some of whom are suspected to have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the banks of the Ganges River in Phaphamau on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, 21 May 2021.
    • A view shows shallow sand graves for people, some of whom are suspected to have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the banks of the Ganges River in Phaphamau on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, 21 May 2021.
    • A view shows shallow sand graves for people, some of whom are suspected to have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the banks of the Ganges River in Phaphamau on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, 21 May 2021.
    • A man rows his boat past shallow sand graves for people, some of whom are suspected to have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the banks of the Ganges River in Phaphamau on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, 21 May 2021.
    • Men walk past shallow sand graves for people, some of whom are suspected to have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the banks of the Ganges River in Phaphamau on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, 21 May 2021.
    © REUTERS / Ritesh Shukla
    Members of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) patrol the Ganges River past shallow sand graves for people, some of whom are suspected to have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the banks of the river Ganges in Phaphamau on the outskirts of Prayagraj, India, 21 May 2021.

    Over the past 24 hours, India has confirmed 257,299 new cases of the coronavirus, with the total number of infected reaching 26,289,290.

    Hundreds of graves have been found along the banks of the River Ganges. Residents of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh fear they could be COVID-19 victims.

    Over the past week, dozens of unidentified corpses have washed up on the banks of the Ganges River near Ghazipur in the state of Uttar Pradesh and the Buxar district in the neighbouring state of Bihar. The exact causes of their death are yet to be investigated, although the process is significantly hindered by the high level of decomposition of the bodies.

    India is second in the world in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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