As many as 68,020 fresh coronavirus cases have been reported in India in the past 24 hours, making it the biggest one-day increase since October, according to data from the Union Ministry of Health. This includes 291 deaths. The total number of active cases has increased to 35,498, it shows.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country now stands at 1.2 crore with 161,843 deaths recorded so far since the epidemic that hit India in January 2020.
Maharashtra, which has officially warned of another lockdown given the resurgence of the infection, has reported an overwhelming majority – 40,414 cases – of the total, as well as 108 deaths. The state is already bracing for a shortage of health care infrastructure. It has been under a strict nighttime curfew since midnight Saturday.
The state has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in recent days. On Saturday, Mumbai reported its biggest increase in 24 hours since the start of the pandemic.
The Delhi government has also re-enforced restrictions on gatherings such as weddings and funerals amid a large peak.
Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu remain the other worst affected states.
This second wave of Covid-19 comes amid the heat of the Assembly elections in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry, where the campaign is in full swing, raising fears of a rapid spread of the infection due to overcrowding.
The Union Health Secretary chaired a high-level meeting with 12 states and Union territories on Saturday to discuss the peak. A five-step strategy has been introduced to deal with the situation. The milestones were: an exponential increase in testing, effective isolation and contact tracing, reinvigoration of health workers, adherence to Covid protocols and a targeted approach to vaccination.