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India records over 26,000 new Covid-19 infections in highest single-day spike

NEW DELHI, India: India has recorded its highest single-day spike in three months on Monday, with 26,110 new coronavirus cases reported in the last 24 hours.

The western state of Maharashtra, which has long been a virus hotspot, accounts for more than half the new infections.

India’s caseload began to dip at the start of 2021, but poor adherence to Covid safety norms seems to be driving a fresh surge in several states.

India has so far recorded more than 11 million Covid cases and 158,000 deaths

Scientists are on the hunt for new variants amid fears that they could be one of the reasons for the uptick.

The other is laxity in following Covid-19 safety protocols. Lack of masking and social distancing, and poor test and trace have all added to the spike in Maharashtra, Dr Sanjay Oak, a member of the state’s Covid task force.

The latest spike comes early on in India’s vaccination drive, which began in January. Nearly 30 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine so far.

The rollout is currently targeting elderly people and those with co-morbidities but is expected to expand further soon.

The government in Maharashtra put Nagpur district, which has the country’s second-highest active caseload, under lockdown last week. It was the second lockdown in the state, which currently has the highest number of active and confirmed cases in India.

Other districts have followed with restrictions such as night curfews and closure of markets to stem the rise in cases.

Six other states – Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh – are also reporting a surge in infections.

There are 2,19,262 active cases across the country currently. The tally crossed the 2-lakh mark on Saturday after 53 days.

A decline was recorded in the daily new deaths, with 118 more people losing their lives due to the disease, taking the toll to 1,58,725. Fatalities stood at 161 on Sunday, the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in over two weeks.

In addition to this, 17,455 recuperated from the disease in the last 24 hours. The total number of recoveries has now reached 1,10,07,352.

India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 2 million-mark on August 7 last year, 3 million on August 23, 40 million on September 5 and 5 million on September 16. It went past 6 million on September 28, 7 million on October 11, crossed 8 million on October 29, 9 million on November 20 and surpassed the 10-million mark on December 19.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) informed on Monday that a total of 22,74,07,413 samples have been tested across the country so far. Out of these, 7,03,772 samples were tested on Sunday.

India has so far administered 2,99,08,038 anti-Covid shots.

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on 16 January with healthcare workers getting inoculated and vaccination of the frontline workers started from February 2.

The next phase of Covid-19 vaccination commenced on March 1 for those who are above 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified comorbid conditions.