The country recorded 2,40,495 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. The total number of infections has reached 4.03 crore, and the active cases have crossed the 33.5 lakh mark.
The figures are based on the State bulletins released until 9.30 p.m. on Thursday. However, Ladakh, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jharkhand and Lakshadweep had not yet released data for the day.
Kerala recorded 51,739 infections on Thursday, followed by Karnataka (38,083) and Tamil Nadu (28,515).
On Thursday, 596 deaths were recorded in India, considerably higher than the average levels recorded in the last week. The total number of recorded fatalities has reached 4,91,754.
Kerala reported the most deaths with 153 fatalities (57 were from a backlog), followed by Tamil Nadu (53) and Karnataka recorded 49 deaths.
On Wednesday, 14.6 lakh tests were conducted (the results for which were made available on Thursday). The test positivity rate (the number of cases detected per 100 tests) was 16.4%.
As of Thursday, 91.9% of the eligible population has been vaccinated with at least one dose, while 68.4% have received both doses. In the 15-17 age cohort, 59.9% of the population have received their first dose. Altogether, 93,67,34,502 first doses, 69,72,07,423 second doses, and 98,74,345 booster doses have been administered across India.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the COVID-19 guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act till February 28.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said in a letter to States that due to the current COVID wave, led by the new variant, Omicron, there has been a steady increase in the number of COVID cases in the country and the active cases have increased to over 22 lakhs.
“Though a majority of active cases are recovering fast and a low percentage of cases are in hospitals, it is still a matter of concern that 407 districts in 34 States and Union Territories are reporting a positivity rate of more than 10%. Therefore, looking at the current trends of COVID virus, there is a need to exercise caution and vigilance,” the letter said. States were asked to observe all precautions and not let the guard down.
“Imposition and lifting of local curbs/restrictions should be dynamic and should be based on the case positivity and hospitalisation status at the local level,” the letter said.
The Ministry said there should be continued focus on the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat, vaccination and adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour. State enforcement machinery have been told to strictly enforce norms such as wearing of masks and maintaining safe social distancing.