COVID-19: India's active cases cross 1.5-lakh mark again as infections surge in some states

Active COVID-19 cases in India rose for the fifth consecutive day and went past the 1.5 lakh mark again after a gap of 17 days, according to Union Health Ministry data on Monday, as the total infections crossed 1.10 crore. With 14,199 new infections being reported in a day, the overall coronavirus tally stood at 1,10,05,850, while the death toll rose to 1,56,385 with 83 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the surge in active cases is due to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh reporting a spike in the daily infections.

People coming to Madhya Pradesh from Maharashtra will be subjected to thermal screening, government officials said in Bhopal. Active coronavirus infections in the country increased to 1,50,055 which comprises 1.36 per cent of the total caseload, according to the health ministry data. These cases were last above the 1.5 lakh mark, at 1,51,460 on February 5, after which they started declining.

The active COVID-19 cases increased by 4,421 in a span of 24 hours, registering an increase of around three per cent, an analysis of the official data showed. Further, the increase in number of daily active cases has been highest since November 26. when the jump was by 7,598. India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.

The number of people who have recovered from the disease rose to 1,06,99,410 which translates to a national COVID-19 recovery rate of 97.22 per cent and the case fatality rate stood at 1.42 per cent, the health ministry said. The national positivity rate was also pegged at 5.20 per cent. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also reviewed the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country. The review meeting was attended by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and top officials of the two ministries.

In Karnataka, Health Minister K Sudhakar cautioned people against negligence towards observing COVID protocols, and of stricter steps if the number of cases increase. He said marshals would be deployed to monitor weddings as they were taking place without any norms or guidelines being followed. He also clarified that the state government had not imposed any restrictions on inter-state travel, but has mandated RT-PCR certificates not older than 72 hours for those arriving in the state from neighbouring Kerala and Maharashtra.

People in the neighbouring district of Kasargod in Kerala bound for Mangaluru and other parts of Dakshina Kannada for various purposes including medical needs and studies had a tough time. Long queues of vehicles could be seen at the border areas since morning. In the national capital, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal directed authorities to take all necessary steps to prevent any rise in COVID-19 cases in view of the surge in some states.

Public buses and metro trains will run at their current limited capacities for at least two more weeks with the Delhi Disaster Management Authority deciding to maintain status quo on the number of passengers, sources said. After logging over 6,000 COVID-19 cases for three days in a row, Maharashtra reported 5,210 fresh infections on Monday.

In Mumbai, the number of single-day infections dropped to 760 after reporting over 900 fresh cases for two consecutive days. Mumbai has recorded 36.38 per cent rise in the active COVID-19 cases since February 8, according to the city civic body. Careless attitude of citizens, allowing the general public to travel in local trains and opening of various other commercial activities were among the reasons behind the current surge in cases in Mumbai, civic officials said.

The country's financial capital reported 5,335 active COVID-19 cases on February 8, and the number went up to 7,276 on Sunday, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) data. BMC officials said the surge in daily cases started in the second week of February. On Sunday, Mumbai reported over 900 new COVID-19 cases, as compared to less than 500 daily cases in the first week of February. BMC's Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said as restrictions were eased, crowds were witnessed at various marriage functions, other social events, and in malls, restaurants, pubs and clubs.

The number of passengers in local trains also increased from eight lakh (in January-end) to 22 lakh (after all members of the public were allowed in February), he said. "Many people are behaving as if the COVID-19 threat is not there. They are not following protocols at public places." "Among the positive cases, the number of asymptomatic persons is more," Kakani said.

The civic body is also trying to find out if the virus has mutated. Kakani said they have already sent 90 samples to the Pune-based National Institute of Virology to check for any mutation of the virus.

NCP president Sharad Pawar said he has cancelled all his scheduled public engagements in view of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said in view of the rising COVID-19 cases, religious, social and political gatherings will be prohibited in the state from Monday.

Several state leaders also cancelled their scheduled public events. In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan issued several directives while reviewing the coronavirus situation in the state at a meeting in Bhopal.

One of the directives asked district collectors to ensure temperature-based screening of people coming from Maharashtra, where 6,971 new coronavirus cases were recorded on Sunday, the highest single-day count in nearly four months.

Thermal screening involves checking the body temperature of a person for symptoms of viral infections.

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