India on Friday registered 23,285 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,13,08,846, data from the Union health ministry showed. The new cases were the highest in over two months. The country’s toll rose to 1,58,306 as 117 were reported in the last 24 hours.

The number of active cases, which has been a cause of concern for the central government, rose by 8,011 in the last day. The overall tally of active cases went up to 1,97,237. More than 1.09 crore people in India have recovered from the infection. Maharashtra and Kerala accounted for 71.69% of India’s total active cases, the health ministry said.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were among the states witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases. The six states accounted for 85.6% of the new cases reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said.

Maharashtra on Thursday reported 14,317 new coronavirus cases – the highest daily infection count this year – pushing the tally in the state to 22,66,374. Maharashtra’s toll rose by 57 to 52,667. The state has more than 1 lakh active cases and 1,09,38,146 recoveries. Maharashtra alone made up for 61.48% of the daily new cases.

Maharashtra reported the maximum number of deaths in the last day, followed by Punjab (18) and Kerala (13). On the other hand, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Puducherry were among the 19 states and Union territories that did not report any death in the past day.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The Centre said it was very worried about the situation in Maharashtra. At a press conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said eight of the 10 Indian districts with the highest number of active cases were in Maharashtra. These are Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Thane, Mumbai, Amravati, Jalgaon and Nashik.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has enforced fresh restrictions in several districts. On Thursday, a complete lockdown was announced in Nagpur from March 15 to March 21. All shops and establishments, except those which offer essential services, will be shut during this period.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said that the lockdown may soon be imposed in other places also to combat the surge.

Maharashtra Immunisation Officer DN Patil told The Indian Express that the state had sufficient vaccines for now. “I can’t say today that it will last for a month but this is an ongoing process and the stock gets replenished,” he added. Patil also said that Maharashtra has asked for asked the Centre for 12 lakh more vaccine doses.

The Centre also issued a warning to Delhi and its neighbouring areas as the Capital on Thursday reported 409 new coronavirus cases – the highest count in more than two months. Delhi’s overall count rose to 6,42,439. Three more deaths pushed the toll to 10,934.

More than 4.8 lakh vaccine doses were administered on Thursday, government data showed. The total number of vaccines administered in the country stood at 2,61,64,920.

India will manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s single dose coronavirus vaccine as part of the initiative of the Quad group of countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, United States President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga will participate in the first-ever leaders’ meeting of the Quadrilateral Framework on Friday.

Global updates

  1. Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 11.85 crore people and killed over 26.29 lakh, according to John Hopkins University. Over 6.71 crore people have recovered from the infection in the world.
  2. Denmark, Norway and Iceland temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine amid concerns of patients developing blood clots post inoculation. However, Australia said it had found no evidence of the vaccine’s link to blood clots and decided to continue the rollout, Reuters reported.
  3. All remaining restrictions in New Zealand’s Auckland city were lifted on Friday it reported no locally-transmitted cases for two weeks, Reuters reported.
  4. South Korea said it will extend the ban on gatherings to avert the possibility of a fourth wave of infections, Reuters reported. The country is ramping up its vaccination programme.