New Delhi:

India reported 17,921 new COVID-19 cases, 20,652 recoveries, and 133 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry informed on Wednesday. The cumulative cases in the country reached 1,12,62,707 including 1,84,598 active infections and 1,09,20,046 recoveries. The death toll due to COVID-19 mounted to 1,58,063.

Six states — Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu — accounted for 83.76 percent of the 17,921 cases of COVID-19 reported in the country in a day, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

With 96,548 active coronavirus infections, Maharashtra has the highest number of active cases. Kerala follows with 37,446 active COVID-19 cases. As many as 2,43,67,906 vaccine doses have been administered so far.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, a total of 22,34,79,877 samples have been tested so far including 7,63,081 samples that were tested yesterday. 

On Tuesday, with 15,388 fresh cases, India's Covid-19 tally had climbed to 1,12,44,786, while the number of recoveries had surged to 1,08,99,394,The death toll due to the viral disease had gone up to 1,57,930 in the country with 77 more fatalities

To check the spike in COVID-19 cases, the Maharashtra health department has come up with a seven-point action plan, including testing of close contacts, fast contact-tracing, mass testing in hot-spots, and audit of deaths.

All district administrations have been directed to act upon these points immediately, as per a letter dated March 3 of the health department's principal secretary Dr. Pradeep Vyas.

The action plan also includes strict adherence to guidelines on social, political, and religious gatherings, and involves civil societies and religious leaders to motivate people to adopt COVID-19-appropriate behavior.

The COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra have been on a rise since the second week of February.

On Tuesday, the state reported 9,927 new COVID-19 cases which took the caseload to 22,38,398, while 56 fatalities pushed up the death count to 52,556, as per official data.

The action plan has been prepared following observations of a team from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which recently visited Nagpur, Amravati, Yavatmal, Thane, Pune, and Mumbai, where there has been a spike in cases of the viral infection.

More than 2.43 crore (2,43,67,906) COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered

More than 2.43 crore (2,43,67,906) COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered through 3,39,145 sessions across the States and Union Territories so far, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHWF) informed on Wednesday.

"More than 2.43 cr (2,43,67,906) vaccine doses have been administered through 3,39,145 sessions across the States and UTs, as per the provisional report till 7 am today.

These include 71,30,098 HCWs (first dose), 38,90,257HCWs (second dose), 69,36,480 FLWs (first dose) and 4,73,422 FLWs (second dose), 8,33,526 beneficiaries aged more than 45 years with specific co-morbidities (first dose) and 51,04,123 beneficiaries aged more than 60 years (first dose)," the health ministry said.

As per health ministry data, more than 13.5 lakh vaccine doses were given in the last 24 hours, out of which 10,60,944 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 52,351 sessions for the first dose (HCWs and FLWs) and 2,98,229 HCWs and FLWs received a second dose of vaccine. Meanwhile, 83.76 per cent of the new cases are from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

As many as 17,921 new daily cases reported in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra reported the highest daily new cases at 9,927. Kerala follows with 2,316 while Punjab reported 1,027 new cases. Eight states are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases, the ministry said.

India's total active caseload stands at 1.84 lakh (1,84,598) and the daily positivity rate currently stands at 2.43 per cent. The total COVID-19 tests conducted in India have crossed 22 crores (22,34,79,877).

133 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. Five states account for 77.44 per cent of the new deaths whereas Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (56) followed by Punjab with 20 daily deaths and Kerala has reported 16 deaths.

Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Bihar, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Ladakh (UT), Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Tripura, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Arunachal Pradesh have not reported any COVID19 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

More than 2.6 crore people had registered for Covid-19 vaccinations in the country till Tuesday, with a majority of the appointments (around 75%) being booked online on Co-Win or through the Aarogya Setu app, while the rest were walk-ins.

Men accounted for 58.5% of total registrations while more than 41% were women and 3,775 registrations were in the “other” category.