India adds 35,871 new COVID-19 cases, highest in 102 days

This is the eight consecutive day when COVID-19 infections saw a rise; India’s active caseload stands at 2,52,364, which is 2.20 per cent of the total infections

The daily rise in infections was the highest recorded in 115 days. Representative photo: PTI

In an alarming escalation of COVID-19 infections, the country on Thursday (March 18) added 35,871 new cases, the highest-single-day spike in over 100 days, taking is tally to 1,14,74,605.

Registering an increase for the eighth consecutive day (on Thursday), the country’s active caseload reached 2,52,364, which accounts for 2.20 per cent of the total infections.

The recovery rate further dropped to 96.41 per cent, said Health Ministry data updated at 8 am. The death toll increased to 1,59,216 with 172 new fatalities.

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The Centre on Wednesday noted that 70 districts across 16 states have seen a rise of almost 150 per cent in active cases between March 1 and 15.

Maharashtra, which has the highest number of infections in the country, reported a record-high of 23,179 infections in a day on Wednesday, accounting for 60 per cent of the new cases reported in India.

Besides Maharashtra, the most number of cases were also reported from Kerala (2,098 fresh cases), Punjab (2,013), Karnataka (1,275) and Gujarat (1,122) cases in the past 24 hours.

Taking stock of the matter at video conference with chief ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for “quick and decisive” measures to curb the emergence of a “second wave” of the pandemic.

Warning of a possible nationwide outbreak of the infection, Modi asked chief ministers to seriously employ testing, tracking and treatment in their states.

“If we don’t stop this right now, then there could be a situation of a nationwide outbreak. We have to immediately stop the emerging second peak and take big and decisive steps,” Modi said.

The single-day spike of 35,871 cases is the highest in 102 days.

As many as 36,011 new infections were recorded on December 6. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,10,63,025, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.39 per cent, according to the health ministry data.

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The spike in COVID infections comes amid a mass vaccination drive initiated by the Centre. So far, more than 3.64 crore doses have been administered while the government targets to reach 30 crore people by July.

(With inputs from agency)