India recorded a huge spike of 72,330 new cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the last 24 hours which took the nationwide tally to 12,221,665, Union health ministry data showed on Thursday morning.
The infection also cost the lives of 459 people in the said timeframe – up from 354 on Wednesday – which pushed the death toll to 1,62,927, the health ministry data showed.
The number of active cases stood at 5,84,055, after a jump of 31,489 in the last 24 hours.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that a total of 24,47,98,621 samples have been tested for Covid-19 up to March 31. Of these, 11,25,681 samples were tested on Wednesday, it added.
The health ministry on Wednesday said that eight states accounted for 84.73 per cent of the Covid-19 cases registered in the country. Maharashtra continues to report the highest number of daily cases, it added.
Maharashtra reported 39,544 new Covid-19 cases, 23,600 discharges and 227 deaths in a 24-hour period, according to the state health department data on Wednesday evening.
According to the Delhi health department, the national capital reported 1,819 new coronavirus cases, 399 recoveries and 11 deaths. There are 8,838 active cases in Delhi.
Punjab and union territory of Chandigarh are the other badly-hit regions. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting on Wednesday along with NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul, to review the status of Covid-19 in these two places and the public health measures taken for surveillance, containment and management of the disease by the health authorities.
They asked Punjab government and Chandigarh administration to effectively implement the test-track-treat strategy against Covid-19, escalate testing till the positivity comes down below 5 per cent and ensure priority vaccination of eligible population groups in districts reporting high number of cases.
Over the past few weeks, India has been recording a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases, which has been termed as the second wave of infection by the experts. Last week, the number of daily cases were close to 60,000, concerning the government.
Though the number fell slightly this week – due to low testing during the festival of Holi – the Centre said that the situation is turning from bad to worse.
Meanwhile, the cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country surpassed 6.5 crore on Wednesday, the 75th day of nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive, health ministry data showed today.