India Reports 35,871 New COVID-19 Cases, Highest Since December

According to the Health Ministry, the 3,71,43,255 individuals have received the first dose of the vaccines.

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Medics prepare to collect samples for swab tests from a COVID-19 mobile testing van, during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Image used for representation purpose.

India on Thursday, 18 March, reported 35,871 new COVID-19 cases, the highest tally since December as worries of a possible second wave of infection grips the nation.

With 17,741 recoveries and 172 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total case load now stands at 1,14,74,605 and 1,59,216 deaths.

According to the health ministry, 3,71,43,255 individuals have received the first dose of the vaccines.

The Centre on Wednesday said that India has seen a nearly 43 percent week-on-week increase in new coronavirus cases and a nearly 37 percent week-on-week increase in new deaths.

60% Case Load Coming From Maharashtra

In a press briefing, Union Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that 70 districts across 16 states have seen an increase in infections by 150 percent in 15 days, from 1 to 15 March.

Bhushan further said that 60 percent of all active cases are concentrated in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra on Wednesday reported 23,179 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the state to 23,70,507. The death toll increased by 84 to 53,080.

The cases in the state have been rising since the last few days, leading to restrictions imposed in several areas.

In Punjab, the positivity rate is 6.8 percent, which Bhushan said was worrying and said that it was due to a lack of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. Though states are seeing a surge in cases, the mortality rate remains less than two percent.

Success Can’t Turn Into Negligence: PM Modi tells CMs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a virtual meeting with the chief ministers of all states and Union territories and said that the emerging second wave of COVID-19 will have to be stopped immediately.

PM Modi said that quick and decisive steps will have to be taken to prevent the surge in several states. Pushing for more testing, PM Modi said that lesser testing in some districts and states needs to be looked into.

“It is a test of good governance. Our confidence should not turn into overconfidence. Our success should not turn into negligence,” he said.

The PM also asked to scale up testing in smaller towns to curb the spread of the virus in villages.

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