With over 1.15 lakh fresh infections in the last 24 hours, India on Tuesday reported its highest COVID-19 daily count since the pandemic outbreak in the country last year. The daily figure of 1,15,736 took the country’s total tally to 1,28,01,785 (over 1.28 crore).
Besides, 630 fatalities were also recorded during this 24-hour period, pushing the total death toll to 1,66,177, according to the latest government update.
The number of coronavirus cases breached the 1-lakh mark for the second time in three days with the central government asserting that one of the major reasons for the surge in infections was people becoming lax towards following COVID-appropriate behaviour.
The states and UTs reporting a large surge included Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Punjab, Chandigarh, Gujarat and Rajasthan, while several other states also reported a lot more new cases than in the recent past in what is being called the second wave of this deadly pandemic.
On Tuesday morning, the health ministry data indicated a slight fall with 96,982 new cases, while Monday morning’s data had showed 1,03,558 cases in the previous 24 hours.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who reviewed the COVID-19 situation and the progress of vaccination in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan, said these 11 states together contributed 54 per cent of the total cases and 65 per cent of the total deaths in the country, with a disproportionately high number of deaths in Maharashtra and Punjab.
Vardhan noted that since February, these states have witnessed a steep increase in cases, the majority of which have been reported in the younger population of 15-44 years, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
The health minister chaired a comprehensive and detailed review of the COVID-19 cases, vaccination status and challenges being faced by the states in management of coronavirus.
At a media briefing, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said the pandemic situation in the country has worsened with a sharp rise in cases and a large part of the population is still susceptible to the virus.
The tools to fight the pandemic remain the same and COVID-appropriate behaviour, containment measures, testing have to be implemented more efficiently, medical infrastructure has to be ramped up and vaccination drive intensified, he said.
COVID-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, staying away from crowds have to be followed in a campaign mode, Paul said.
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Amid the spike in coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with chief ministers on Thursday to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination drive.
Modi’s last interaction with chief ministers was on March 17 during which he had expressed concern over the rise in COVID-19 cases in parts of the country and called for “quick and decisive” steps to check the “emerging second peak.”
The Centre also said on Tuesday an increase in the intensity of the pandemic has led COVID-19 to spread at a faster pace than last year and the next four weeks are very critical.