New cases of coronavirus infection in India were recorded above 18,000 for the third consecutive day taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,12,29,398, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.
The active cases also registered an increase for the sixth consecutive day and the COVID-19 active caseload increased to 1,88,747 which now comprises 1.68 per cent of the total infections.
The recovery rate has dropped further to 96.91 per cent, the data stated.
A total of 18,599 new infections were registered in a day, while the death toll increased to 1,57,853 with 97 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
On January 29, 18,855 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours.
Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are the six states that cumulatively account for 86.25 per cent of the new coronavirus cases reported in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Monday.
Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 11,141, followed by Kerala with 2,100 and Punjab with 1,043 new infections, the ministry said.
The Centre is regularly holding high-level review meetings with the states and Union territories showing a surge in new daily cases and the health secretary is also holding weekly review meetings, it said.
''Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have been reporting a surge in the COVID daily new cases. They cumulatively account for 86.25 per cent of the new cases reported in the past 24 hours,'' the ministry said in a statement.
The Centre has recently rushed high-level public health teams to Maharashtra and Punjab to assist in COVID-19 control and containment measures in view of the recent spike in cases, it added.
The central government said it had already deputed 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.
''These teams interact with the state/UT authorities and get a firsthand understanding of the challenges and issues being faced by them so as to strengthen their ongoing activities and remove bottlenecks, if any,'' the ministry said.
It said eight states and Union territories — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka and Haryana — were displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases.
They have a weekly positivity rate more than the national average of 2.29 per cent. Maharashtra has the highest weekly positivity rate with 11.13 per cent, the government said.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,08,82,798 which translates to a national COVID-19 recovery rate of 96.91 per cent, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.41 per cent.
India''s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16.It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.
According to the ICMR, 22,19,68,271 samples have been tested up to March 7 with 5,37,764 samples being tested on Sunday.
The 97 new fatalities include 38 from Maharashtra, 17 from Punjab and 13 from Kerala.
A total of 1,57,853 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 52,478 from Maharashtra followed by 12,518 from Tamil Nadu, 12,362 from Karnataka, 10,921 from Delhi, 10,278 from West Bengal, 8,737 from Uttar Pradesh and 7,174 from Andhra Pradesh.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.
"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.