India recorded its highest Covid-19 tally with 35,886 patients testing positive for the virus as Maharashtra continued to be the worst-affected state as the fresh wave of infections surges, accounting for 64 percent of the daily count in India.
Maharashtra added 23,179 fresh cases, the highest in six months since September 17 (24,619 cases). With this, Maharashtra reported a 30 percent increase in cases compared to Tuesday, taking the total caseload of the state to 23,70,507. From March 1 to March 17, the daily cases in the state have risen four times.
The daily case count in several cities in Maharashtra was higher than the total case count of worst-affected states like Punjab, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. Apart from Maharashtra, as many as 17 states and Union territories on Wednesday logged the highest count of fresh cases since January or earlier.
As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), daily new cases in the country are increasing at around 43 percent week-on-week, whereas a 37 percent rise in daily new deaths has been recorded.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said data shows that 70 districts in 16 states have registered over 150 percent increase in cases during March 1-15, whereas the infection is rising at 100-150% in 55 districts in 17 states.
The average daily new cases are also increasing rapidly in the state. The weekly moving average of new cases has risen from 7,741 cases on March 1 to 13,527 on March 15.
States like Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Delhi, and Himachal Pradesh, tests have failed to keep pace with the increasing number of cases and positivity rates.
In many states and UTs like Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, MP, Delhi, and Himachal Pradesh, the share of RT-PCR is also significantly low.The Centre has advised states witnessing a surge to increase tests in proportion to the positivity rate and also maintain the share of RT-PCR at a minimum of 70 percent.
The health ministry has also asked states to ensure strict adherence to mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene along with greater vigilance and monitoring at the highest levels for all potential events where crowds gather.