New Delhi: The number of coronavirus cases in India hit a record daily high since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country with over 1.07 lakh new infections reported on Tuesday, according to the data provided by governments of various states and Union territories. The number of coronavirus cases breached the 1-lakh mark for the second time in three days with the central government asserting that one of the major reasons for the surge in infections was people becoming lax towards following COVID-appropriate behaviour.
According to the daily numbers announced by various states and UTs, the nationwide tally of new cases reported on Tuesday crossed 1.07 lakh mark, the highest ever in India since the first case of the deadly virus was reported in January 2020. The states and UTs reporting a large surge included Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Punjab, Chandigarh, Gujarat and Rajasthan, while several other states also reported a lot more new cases than in the recent past in what is being called the second wave of this deadly pandemic.
Among the states with a rapid surge in infections, Maharashtra reported 55,469 cases, Chhattisgarh 9,921 cases, Delhi 5,100 cases, Gujarat 3,280 cases and Rajasthan 2,236 cases. Among southern states, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana also reported high daily figures.
Some states or UTs were yet to announce their tallies for new cases during the day and therefore the overall nationwide tally for the day could be higher than 1.07 lakh. The Health Ministry data updated at 8 am on Tuesday morning showed that a total of 96,982 cases have been reported in a span of 24 hours.
The data on Monday morning showed 1,03,558 single day new coronavirus infections in a span of 24 hours. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who reviewed the COVID-19 situation and the progress of vaccination in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan, said these 11 states together contributed 54 per cent of the total cases and 65 per cent of the total deaths in the country, with a disproportionately high number of deaths in Maharashtra and Punjab.
Vardhan noted that since February, these states have witnessed a steep increase in cases, the majority of which have been reported in the younger population of 15-44 years, the Health Ministry said in a statement. The minister highlighted that one of the major reasons for the surge in cases in almost all parts of the country, more specifically in these 11 states, was people becoming lax towards following COVID-appropriate behaviour and urged them take up mass awareness campaigns to re-instill the importance of such measures among the masses. The health minister chaired a comprehensive and detailed review of the COVID-19 cases, vaccination status and challenges being faced by the states in management of coronavirus. At a media briefing, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul said the pandemic situation in the country has worsened with a sharp rise in cases and a large part of the population is still susceptible to the virus.
The tools to fight the pandemic remain the same and COVID-appropriate behaviour, containment measures, testing have to be implemented more efficiently, medical infrastructure has to be ramped up and vaccination drive intensified, he said. COVID-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, staying away from crowds have to be followed in a campaign mode, Paul said.
Amid the spike in coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with chief ministers on Thursday to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination drive. Modi's last interaction with chief ministers was on March 17 during which he had expressed concern over the rise in COVID-19 cases in parts of the country and called for "quick and decisive" steps to check the "emerging second peak".
The Centre also said on Tuesday an increase in the intensity of the pandemic has led COVID-19 to spread at a faster pace than last year and the next four weeks are very critical.