New Delhi: Coronavirus cases in India hit a record daily high since the the outbreak of the pandemic with 1,03,558 new infections pushing the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,25,89,067, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.
The single-day rise in cases surpassed the earlier peak of 97,894 infections reported on September 17, last year, making it the highest so far. The death toll increased to 1,65,101 with 478 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The Centre attributed the surge to a severe decline in the compliance of COVID-appropriate behaviour, pandemic fatigue and lack of effective implementation of containment measures.
Last year, it took 76 days for the single-day rise in coronavirus cases in India to reach the then peak of 97,894 from 20,000. However, this time the daily rise in cases have galloped at a much faster pace taking just 25 days (March 10 to April 4) to cross the grim milestone of one-lakh infections.
Registering a steady increase for the 26th day in row, the active cases have increased to 7,41,830 comprising 5.89 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 92.80 per cent, the data stated.
The active caseload was at its lowest at 1, 35,926 on February 12 comprising 1.25 per cent of the total infections.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,16,82,136, while the case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.31 per cent, the data stated.
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.
According to the ICMR, 24,90,19,657 samples have been tested up to April 4with 8,93,749samples being tested on Sunday.
The 478 new fatalities include 222 from Maharashtra, 51 from Punjab, 36 from Chhattisgarh,31 from Uttar Pradesh, 15 from Karnataka, 14 each from Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, 11 from Madhya Pradesh and 10 each from Himachal Pradesh and Kerala.
A total of 1,65,101 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 55,878 from Maharashtra, 12,778 from Tamil Nadu, 12,625 from Karnataka, 11,081 from Delhi, 10,344 from West Bengal, 8,881 from Uttar Pradesh and 7,239 from Andhra Pradesh and 7,083 from Punjab.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.
"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.
Private offices, except in the banking and insurance sectors, will remain shut in Maharashtra from Monday night, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.
He said employees of private offices will be allowed to work from home.
Government offices will function at 50 percent of their capacity and the rest of the employees will work from home, except the staffers of the essential services related to the pandemic management, the minister said.
The state government also announced a weekend lockdown in the state from 8pm on Friday to 7am on Monday to curb the huge surge in COVID-19 cases.
Strict restrictions will come into force from Monday 8 pm onwards under which shopping malls, bars, restaurants, small shops will be open only for take-aways and parcels.
Tope said saloons and beauty parlours will also remain closed in the state. Public transport will remain functional with restrictions, and autorickshaws and cabs will operate with a limited number of passengers, he added.
PM reviews situation
At a review meeting with senior officials, Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed that central teams consisting of public health specialists be sent to Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh, where the situation was of serious concern.
They are among 10 high burden states and UTs are contributing 91.4 percent of the total cases and 90.9 percent of the total deaths in the country.
The Centre said that a special campaign for COVID-appropriate behaviour with emphasis on 100 percent mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation at public places, workplaces and health facilities will be organised between April 6-14.
Modi said the five-fold strategy of testing, tracing, treatment, COVID-appropriate behaviour and vaccination if implemented with utmost seriousness and commitment would be effective in curbing the pandemic's spread, according to an official statement.
He called for avoiding mortality under all circumstances by ramping up healthcare infrastructure and other measures and exhorted that all states need to take required stringent measures with comprehensive restrictions in places witnessing high surge to curb the spread.
The reasons for the sharp rise in cases could be mainly attributed to the severe decline in compliance of COVID-appropriate behaviour, especially in the use of masks and social distancing, pandemic fatigue and lack of effective implementation of containment measures at the field level, said the statement released after the prime minister's review meeting with senior officials.
It was noted in the meeting that the exact contribution of mutant strains to the escalation of cases in some states remains speculative and the measures to control the pandemic remain the same, and hence the implementation of various protocols for COVID-19 management is all the more critical in those areas.