An elderly woman thought to be dead woke up moments before being cremated.

Shakuntala Gaikwad tested positive for Covid-19 at the beginning of May and isolated at her home in Baramati in Mudhale, India.

When the 78-year-old started to develop severe symptoms family members called an ambulance which took her to hospital.

While they struggled to find her a bed in the rammed hospital, Ms Gaikwad fell unconscious in the ambulance.

The ambulance staff allegedly confirmed the woman’s death and the devastated family members spread the sad news.

Ms Gaikwad was then taken back to her home village where the family started preparing for her cremation and last rites.

More than 274,000 people have died of Covid in India
More than 274,000 people have died of Covid in India

Moments before she was to be cast into the fire the septuagenarian opened her eyes and began to cry.

She was immediately shifted to the Silver Jubilee Hospital in Baramati for further treatment, said hospital founder Dr Sadanand Kale, VN Express reported.

Ms Gaikward's remarkably close brush with death comes as India remains in the grips of a ferocious wave of coronavirus.

The country currently leads the world in the daily average number of new deaths reported, accounting for one in every 3 deaths reported worldwide each day.

India on Monday reported 281,386 new coronavirus infections over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose by 4,106.