nURSE india vaccine
A nurse prepares to administer a shot of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine at Sola Civil hospital in Ahmedabad, India, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Image Credit: AP

New Delhi: Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka continue to report a surge in fresh COVID-19 cases and they account for 85.95 per cent of the cases reported in a span of 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry said that 14,989 new cases were registered in a span of 24 hours.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 7,863. It is followed by Kerala with 2,938, while Punjab reported 729 new cases.

“Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Karnataka have shown the maximum increase in new cases on a week on week basis,” the ministry said.

Maharashtra alone accounted for a weekly increase of 16,012 cases.

In percentage terms, Punjab reported a weekly increase of 71.5 per cent (1,783 cases).

Ninety-eight deaths were reported across the country in a span of 24 hours.

Four states account for 88.78 per cent of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (54). Kerala follows with 16 daily deaths and Punjab reported 10 deaths in a span of 24 hours.

The Centre is continuously engaging with the states and union territories reporting higher caseload of active cases and those reporting a spike in the daily new COVID-19 cases, the ministry underlined.

States and UTs have been advised to maintain a continued rigorous vigil for containing the spread of COVID-19 so that the gains of collective efforts are not squandered away, the ministry said.

Need for effective testing, comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation of positive cases and quick quarantine of close contacts are strongly emphasised.

Special teams

The central government has also rushed high-level teams to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir to support them in their fight against the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The three-member teams are headed by joint secretary-level officers in the Health Ministry.

They will ascertain reasons for the surge and coordinate with the state health departments in COVID-19 control and containment measures.

India’s total active caseload reached 170,126 on Wednesday. India’s present active caseload now stands at 1.53 per cent of the total positive cases.

Showing the change in active cases for states/UTs in a day, the ministry said while Kerala, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir show a reduction in the active cases in a span of 24 hours, Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi, Karnataka and Gujarat display a rise in the active cases during the same period.

Eight states - Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka and Haryana - are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases, the ministry highlighted.

The 2nd dose of COVID19 vaccination started on February 13 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the first dose. Vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started on February 2.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.

More than 15.62 million vaccine doses have been administered through 312,188 sessions, according to provisional report till Wednesday 7 am.