India on Thursday recorded 53,476 coronavirus cases, pushing the tally in the country to 1,17,87,534, data from the Union health ministry showed. This is the highest daily rise since October 23, when 54,366 Covid-19 cases were registered, the Hindustan Times reported. With 251 deaths, the toll rose to 1,60,692.

There are 3,95,192 active cases and 1,12,31,650 people have recovered from the infection so far. India has administered 5,31,45,709 Covid-19 doses so far, with 23,03,305 shots on Wednesday alone.

Ministry of Health

Maharashtra continued to report the highest daily new cases at 31,855, constituting 59.57% of the infections reported on Thursday, data from the health ministry showed. This was followed by Punjab with 2,613, while Kerala reported 2,456 new cases.

Ministry of Health

Three states – Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab – account for 74.32% of total active cases in the country. Maharashtra alone accounts for 62.91% of the total active cases.

Ministry of Health

Six states accounted for 78.49% of the deaths recorded in 24 hours. Maharashtra again topped the list with 95 deaths. Punjab followed with 39, while Chhattisgarh reported 29 deaths in a day, the health ministry said.

Fourteen states and Union Territories did not report any coronavirus-related deaths. These are: Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Dadra Nagar and Haveli, Ladakh, Sikkim, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

Ministry of Health

Meanwhile, amid the surge in cases, India will focus on its domestic coronavirus vaccination programme and the planned rollout of the third inoculation phase, according to reports. There will be no expansion of vaccine exports, the officials said. They said that there will be no ban on exports but supplies to other countries will be done only after domestic needs are met.

The Centre has asked states and Union territories to consider imposing local-level restrictions during Holi and other upcoming festivals. Delhi and Mumbai have already banned public celebrations of Holi.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Union health ministry said that a new “double mutant variant” of the coronavirus and “variants of concern” have been detected in 18 states in India. The ministry, however, added that the new strain has not been found in sufficient numbers to establish or explain the rapid rise in cases in some states.

State updates

  1. On Wednesday, Maharashtra, which has been badly affected by the pandemic, reported 31,855 new coronavirus cases – the highest one-day count since the beginning of the pandemic. The state’s overall count rose to 25,64,881. Ninety-five more deaths pushed its toll to 53,684. Mumbai registered more than 5,000 new cases in a single day for the first time. Its one-day count on Wednesday was 5,185, which took its overall tally to 3,74,611. The Centre expressed concern at the situation in Maharashtra and Punjab, saying it was a cause of “grave concern”. 
  2. Similarly, cases continued to rise in Delhi, which recorded 1,254 cases – the highest single-day rise this year. The Capital’s overall count went up to 6,51,227.
  3. The Madhya Pradesh government has extended the Sunday lockdowns to four more states, reported PTI. The districts are Betul, Chhindwara, Ratlam and Khargone. The Sunday lockdown is already in effect in Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur.
  4. The Uttarakhand High Court directed the government to ensure that the visitors to the mahakumbh carry negative RT-PCR test reports not older than 72 hours or a vaccination certificate, reported the Hindustan Times. The directive came after state Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat had scrapped the requirement for a negative Covid test report put in place by his predecessor.
  5. The Raipur district administration in Chhattisgarh has issued fresh guidelines, including banning the entry of people in tourist spots and stopping religious, social, political and other programmes, to contain the spread of the Covid-19 infection, reported PTI.
  6. Food delivery company Swiggy has said that it will vaccinate over 2,00,000 of its delivery partners, reported ANI. This decision was taken after the Centre announced the next phase of the countrywide vaccination from April 1, 2021, for individuals aged 45 and above, the company said in a statement.
  7. As many as 52 first year medical students of a private college in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, tested positive, The Indian Express reported. Resident Medical Officer at the Meenakshi Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, C Mahendran, said the hostel block of first year students was  closed and the campus area was disinfected. 

Global scenario

  1. Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 12.46 crore people and killed over 27.42 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Over 7.07 crore people have recovered from the infection in the world.
  2. Brazil’s health ministry announced that the toll in the country has crossed the 3 lakh mark, reported AFP. The total number of deaths stood at 3,00,685.
  3. AstraZeneca said its Covid-19 vaccine was 76% effective at preventing symptomatic illness in a new analysis of its United States trial, reported Reuters. The result is lower than announced earlier on Monday. The company had then said that the vaccine was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic cases. 
  4. Finland and Iceland have announced that their senior citizens can now take AstraZeneca Covid-19 jabs after the vaccine was earlier suspended over fears of blood clots, reported AFP. However, as a precaution, the vaccine will remain suspended for those aged under 65 in Finland, its health agency said.