India on Friday registered 16,577 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,10,63,491. The new cases were marginally lower than Thursday’s count of 16,738. The country’s toll rose to 1,56,825 as 120 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

The number of active cases stood at 1,55,986 while the number of recoveries reached 1,07,50,680. So far, more than 1.34 crore health and frontline workers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Amid the surge in cases, Tamil Nadu made seven-day home quarantine mandatory for passengers from Kerala and Maharashtra, The Hindu reported. After the completion of the quarantine period, they will have to closely monitor their health for seven days.

The Ministry of Home Affairs extended the coronavirus containment guidelines till March 31. “The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an Order today to extend the existing Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution to remain in force upto 31.03.2021,” an official release said.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Of the 16,577 cases reported on Friday, 86.18% are from six states, according to the health ministry. Maharashtra continued to report the highest daily new cases at 8,702, followed by Kerala with 3,677 new infections, while Punjab had 563 daily infections.

Kerala also reported the maximum number of single day recoveries with 4,652 newly recovered cases. As many 3,744 people recovered in Maharashtra in 24 hours, followed by 947 in Tamil Nadu, the health ministry said.

Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Meanwhile, six states accounted for 85.83% of the 120 new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties at 67. Kerala reported 14 deaths and Punjab reported 13 deaths. This was followed by Chhattisgarh, where eight people died from Covid-19, and Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which recorded a toll of seven and five, respectively.

Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

The second phase of the vaccination drive, which will cover people above the age of 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities, will also begin from March 1. Eligible beneficiaries will be able to register themselves on the CO-WIN application on the same day, ANI reported.

RS Sharma, the chairperson of the Empowered Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration, told the news agency that the beneficiaries can also get registered at the vaccination site.

People with comorbidities will require a doctor’s certificate to get vaccinated. NK Arora, head of the Operations Research Group of the Covid-19 Task Force, told The Hindu that comorbidities will include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, kidney and lung diseases, hypertension and cancers. “A full list will be provided soon,” he added.

The Kerala government urged the Centre to provide it more coronavirus vaccines amid a surge in infections in the state, ANI reported. The state registered 3,677 new cases and 14 deaths on Thursday.

Maharashtra is another state witnessing a huge increase in daily coronavirus cases. The authorities have imposed strict restrictions in several places to contain the infection. In Mumbai, the iconic Oval Maidan will be closed from Friday, PTI reported.

Authorities in Palghar district of Maharashtra have banned weekly markets and mass marriages in view of the increasing coronavirus cases, reported PTI. District Collector Manik Gursal said only 50 people can attend a wedding.

Meanwhile the Ministry of External Affairs said that India had provided 361.94 lakh vaccines doses to other countries, PTI reported. Of these, 67.5 lakh doses were shipped as grant assistance, while 294.44 lakh doses were exported under various commercial contracts.

World updates

  1. The coronavirus has infected 11.29 crore people across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 25 lakh people have died of the infection. The number of recoveries has gone up to 6.37 crore.
  2. The United Kingdom lowered its coronavirus alert level one notch from five – the highest. The level was changed because of a reduction in the number of hospitalisations, BBC reported.
  3. China approved two more vaccines for public use, Reuters reported. They have been manufactured by CanSino Biologics Inc and Sinopharm affiliate Wuhan Institute of Biological Product.
  4. Brazil’s toll crossed 2.5 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University. The country has reported over 1.03 crore cases so far. The country has signed a contract to buy 2 crore doses of Covaxin – the jab manufactured by India’s Bharat Biotech, Reuters reported.