India reported the year’s biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases on Wednesday with 28,903 new infections, data from the health ministry showed. Total cases in the country have now risen to 1,14,38,734, the highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.

This was the biggest jump since December 13, when India recorded 30,254 new cases, according to PTI.

Deaths increased by 188 to 1,59,044 in the past 24 hours. This is the highest toll in around two months.

As many as 1,10,45,284 people in India have recovered from the infection, while the active caseload surged to 2,34,406.

Tuesday was the sixth straight day when India recorded more than 20,000 infections, even as restrictions to rein in the pandemic expanded in parts of the country.

The Centre said five states Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu account for 71.10% of the 28,903 new cases reported in the last 24 hours. Of these, Maharashtra alone accounts for 61.8% of the daily new cases.

More than 3.48 crore coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered since the inoculation campaign started in mid-January, the health ministry said in a statement. Of these, 19.11 lakh vaccine doses were given till Tuesday 7 pm.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that a total of 5.94 crore doses of India-made vaccine have been exported to 72 countries till March 15. “But it is no way being sent at the expense of people of India,” the minister added. “We also consider that the benefits of science should reach globally. The technology could be local, but the entire humanity should benefit from it.”

Meanwhile, Maharashtra recorded 17,864 new cases on Tuesday, the highest one-day increase so far, according to PTI. The caseload in the state rose to 23,47,328. With 87 more deaths, the toll jumped to 52,996.

The Centre has also pulled the Uddhav Thackeray-led government for not enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour among the citizens and asked the authorities to step up contact tracing and vaccination. It warned that the state “is in the beginning of a second wave” of pandemic and said “complacency may take its toll”.

The health ministry also said 15 of the 19 districts in India reporting the highest number of coronavirus cases in the last 10 days are in Maharashtra, according to News18.

Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Tuesday told Rajya Sabha that after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic curve in mid-September, infections count saw a decline till February 2, following which an upward trend in the trajectory was witnessed.

Global updates

  • Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 12.01 crore people and killed over 26.60 lakh, according to the John Hopkins University. Over 6.81 crore people have recovered from the infection in the world.
  • The World Health Organization cited two new studies and found that thousands of neonatal healthcare workers are not allowing mothers with confirmed or suspected coronavirus infections to have skin-to-skin contact with their newborns. Newborn babies all over the world have “a right to the life-saving contact they need with their parents”, and this should not be denied due to the pandemic, said Anshu Banerjee, a WHO expert in maternal and newborn health.
  • Former United States President Donald Trump has urged his Republican supporters to get vaccinated, BBC reported. They have been one of the main groups opposed to vaccination. “I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” Trump claimed.