New Delhi: India recorded 24,492 new COVID-19 cases, registering more than 20,000 cases for the sixth day in a row, taking the infection tally past 1.14 crore, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday.
The total cases in the country rose to 1,14,09,831, while the death toll increased to 1,58,856, with 131 fresh fatalities, the ministry data updated at 8 am showed.
Registering a spike in cases for the sixth day in a row, the total active caseload has increased to 2,23,432, which now comprises 1.96 per cent of the total infections. The recovery rate has further dropped to 96.65 per cent, it said.
As many as 26,624 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours on December 20.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,10,27,543, while the case fatality rate dropped to 1.39 per cent, the data stated.
India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7 last year, 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, 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 22,82,80,763 samples have been tested up to March 15, with 8,73,350 samples tested on Monday.
Out of the 131 new fatalities, 48 deaths were reported from Maharashtra, 27 from Punjab and 11 from Kerala.
A total of 1,58,856 deaths have been reported so far in the country, including 52,909 from Maharashtra, 12,551 from Tamil Nadu, 12,397 from Karnataka, 10,944 from Delhi, 10,295 from West Bengal, 8,748 from Uttar Pradesh and 7,185 from Andhra Pradesh.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.
"Our figures are being reconciled with ICMR," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.
The government has blamed crowding and a general reluctance to wear masks for the spike, ruling out mutations of the virus as a factor, unlike in the West.
India's worst affected state, Maharashtra, on Monday ordered cinemas, hotels and restaurants to limit guests to half of capacity until the end of the month. Weddings and other social events will also have limited attendance.
Maharashtra has also locked down some districts.
Another western state, Gujarat, has also decided to not allow fans into the world's biggest cricket stadium hosting international matches between India and England, after seeing a spurt in cases.
The initial matches were attended by tens of thousands of people sitting or standing shoulder to shoulder, with few wearing masks, leading to widespread criticism on social media.
Over 30 lakh vaccinated on Monday
More than 30 lakh people were inoculated against COVID-19 on March 15, the highest in a day so far, taking the total number of vaccine doses administered in the country to 3,29,47,432, according to the Union Health Ministry data.
The vaccination of beneficiaries aged over 60 has touched 1 crore within 15 days, the ministry said.
Of the total 30,39,394 doses given in a span of 24 hours on March 15, 26,27,099 beneficiaries have been administered the 1st dose and 4,12,295 individuals have been given the 2nd dose, according to the data compiled at 7 am.
Of the cumulative 3,29,47,432 doses which have been administered till now, 2,70,79,484 beneficiaries received the 1st dose and 58,67,948 individuals have taken the 2nd dose.en the 2nd dose.
(With inputs from Reuters and PTI)