As the country clocked in 93,249 COVID-19 infections, the highest single-day spike of this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (April 4) convened a high-level meeting to take stock of the situation and the pace of the vaccination programme across the country.
The meeting was attended by top officials including the cabinet secretary, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, the health secretary and NITI Ayog member Vinod Paul.
The new cases have taken India’s COVID-19 tally to to 1,24,85,509. This is the biggest daily rise in cases since September 19, when 93,337 fresh infections were recorded.
The death toll climbed to 1,64,623 on Sunday with 513 new fatalities. Registering a steady increase for the 25th straight day, the number of active cases surged to 6,91,597, accounting for 5.54 per cent of the total infections. The recovery rate further dropped to 93.14 per cent, Health Ministry data said. The active caseload was at its lowest at 1,35,926 on February 12, comprising 1.25 per cent of the total infections. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease increased to 1,16,29,289, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.32 per cent, according to the data.
According to the Health Ministry, the eight states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh account for 81.42 per cent of the cases reported in the past 24 hours.
The Centre earlier had asked states to enforce COVID-19 restrictions and protocols including use of masks and social distancing to break the chain of the infection.
On Saturday, Dr Randeep Guleria, the head of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, and member of the central COVID task force had called for stricter restrictions including formation of containment zones and lockdowns apart from increased testing, tracing and isolation to manage the second wave of the pandemic.
India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 24,81,25,908 samples had been tested up to April 3 with 11,66,716 being tested on Saturday. The 513 new fatalities include 277 from Maharashtra, 49 from Punjab, 36 from Chhattisgarh, 19 from Karnataka, 15 from Madhya Pradesh, 14 each from Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, 13 from Gujarat, 12 from Kerala and 10 each from Delhi and Haryana. A total of 1,64,623 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 55,656 from Maharashtra, 12,764 from Tamil Nadu, 12,610 from Karnataka, 11,060 from Delhi, 10,340 from West Bengal, 8,850 from Uttar Pradesh and 7,234 from Andhra Pradesh and 7,032 from Punjab.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to co-morbidities. “Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research,” the ministry said on its website, adding that the state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.
The alarming rise in cases comes in the midst of the government’s third phase of vaccination against the virus. According to government figures, so far 7.5 crore doses of the vaccine have been administered to people.
(With inputs from agencies)