India breaches 1-lakh daily mark, weekends shut in Maharashtra

PM Modi addresses during the inauguration of the ‘Maritime India Summit 2021’ through video conferencing in New Delhi on 2 March 2021 | PTI

PM Modi addresses during the inauguration of the ‘Maritime India Summit 2021’ through video conferencing in New Delhi on 2 March 2021 | PTI

Eight states including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have shown a steep rise in daily COVID-19 cases, accounting for 81.90 per cent of the 1,03,558 new cases reported in a span of 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.

A surge is happening across South Asia.

The state will start shutting shopping malls, cinemas, bars, restaurants and places of worship from Monday evening. Election rallies are being held in several states. More than 7 lakh cases are now active, of which over 4.3 lakh is in Maharashtra alone.

57,074 more people tested positive in Maharashtra with 1,96,988 tests on Sunday, marking the biggest single-day spike.

The country's daily infections have risen about 12 fold since hitting a multi-month low in early February when authorities eased most restrictions and people largely stopped wearing masks and following social distancing. A "double mutant" variant first identified last month in India was recently discovered in California.

After meeting with his advisors Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office announced a "special campaign for COVID-appropriate behavior with emphasis on 100% mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation at public places/workplaces and health facilities". It has diverted some exports in recent weeks, to try to boost inoculations at home.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine effective at least 6 months, company says
The vaccine remains more than 91% effective against disease with any symptoms for six months, the companies said in a statement . Pfizer's vaccine is already authorized for use in people starting at age 16.

Cumulatively, 7,91,05,163 vaccine doses have been administered through 12,31,148 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am.

With Sunday's addition, at least 1.25 crore people in India have so far been found infected with the disease.

Health officials want to cover 300 million people by August, but experts say the vaccinations need to move faster to stop the spread. Anyone over age 45 is now eligible.

The country's daily infections have leapt nearly 12-fold since hitting a multi-month low in early February, when authorities eased most restrictions and people largely stopped wearing masks and following social distancing. High-rise apartment blocks where residents test positive are being sealed off there and guarded by police. On Sunday, they issued new restrictions calling for all non-essential shops to close on weekends.

Pune Police during the Night Curfew with Nakabandi at Balgandharva Chowk on JM road, on Saturday. In autumn, it looked likely to overtake the U.S.as the most-infected country in the world.

Punjab has contributed 4.5 percent of the total cases in the country in the same period but has accounted for 16.3 percent of the total deaths, a matter of serious concern, the statement said.

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