India recorded 62,714 new cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the last 24 hours, which took the nationwide tally to 11,971,624, the Union health ministry data showed on Sunday morning.
The country also recorded 312 fresh fatalities linked to the infection in the said period, and the death toll now stands at 1,61,552, the health ministry data further showed.
The active cases, which shows the spread of the infection, increased by 33,663, reaching 4,86,310. The active cases have been rising rapidly over the last few days; on Saturday, the count increased by 31,581.
The health ministry data also showed that 28,739 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, after which the tally of patients discharged from hospitals reached 11,323,762.
The Centre has urged people to follow Covid-19 protocols and ordered states to take all necessary precautions to control the spread of the infection in all work and public places. Earlier this week, the Union home ministry (MHA) issued fresh set of guidelines due to the recent surge in their Covid disease cases. "For strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing, states and UTs may consider administrative actions, including the imposition of appropriate fines," the order said. These guidelines will come into force from April 1 and remain in place till April 30.
In February, the MHA announced coronavirus surveillance, containment and caution guidelines which are in place till March 31.
The surge, which started a few weeks back, has alarmed the government and health experts who are concerned about the upcoming festival season.
Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Goa have announced a series of curbs to check public gatherings in the wake of upcoming festivals like Holi, Shab-e Barat, Easter and Eid-ul-Fitr. Holi will be celebrated on Monday while Easter will be observed on April 4. Shab-e Barat will be observed on Sunday.
The health ministry has said that six states - Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh - account for nearly 80 per cent of new Covid-19 cases. Among these states, Maharashtra is the worst affected and recorded a high of 35,726 new positive cases on Saturday.
The Centre on Saturday chaired a high-level meet with 12 states and union territories (UTs) reporting a surge in Covid-19 cases. They were advised to focus on stringent containment and public health measures in 46 high burden districts.