India reports 18,327 new COVID-19 cases, highest in 6 weeks; Maharashtra contributes 10,216 to the grand total
PTI

New Delhi: With 18,327 new coronavirus cases, India registered the highest single-day infection tally in six weeks, according to data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Saturday. The new figure was an increase of 1,489 cases reported a day ago.

Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu added 82 per cent of the total new cases which were reported in the last 24 hours in the country, the union health ministry informed on Saturday.

According to the health ministry, 18,327 new COVID-19 cases were registered in the last 24 hours, out of which Maharashtra added 10,216, followed by Kerala with 2,776 while Punjab reported 808 new cases.

Meanwhile, eight states are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases. The last time India reported more than 18,000 single-day cases was on January 28.

The overall caseload has now reached 1,11,92,088. However, a slight drop was recorded in number of deaths. At least 108 fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours against 113 reported a day before. The death toll currently stands at 1,57,656.

Meanwhile, active cases are also on a gradual increase, becoming a cause of concern. In the last two days, it increased by 0.06 per cent, pushing the current rate to 1.61 per cent. As per the Ministry's data, there are 1,80,304 active cases presently.

Besides, 14,234 patients of Covid-19 were discharged in a day. A total 1,08,54,128 persons have been discharged so far. The recovery rate has reduced to 97.98 per cent.

The drop in recovery rate and the increase in new and corresponding active cases have been attributed to various factors including continued spike in infections in Maharashtra and the sudden spurt in Punjab. Between February 28 and March 5, Maharashtra added 51,612 new cases.

Punjab is emerging as another Covid-19 hotspot. The state recorded 1,071 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the highest since November 2020.

Experts have expressed a number of possibilities which could be owed to the surge, ranging from the lax attitude of people towards following the Covid protocols to likeability of "mutations and new strains".

In mid-February, officials had said that the average daily new infections oscillated between 9,000 to 12,000 while the deaths were between 78 to 120.

The Ministry also informed that 7,51,935 samples were tested on Friday. The cumulative tests done by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) so far stands at 22,06,92,677.

Till date, 1,94,97,704 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the country since the mass drive began on January 16.

The third phase of vaccination began on Monday covering 27 crore of people above 60 and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres. While people will be vaccinated free of cost at government hospitals, those taking the shots at private hospitals will have to pay.

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