India reports 131 COVID-19 deaths, 24,492 new cases of infection
New Delhi, March 16, 2021
India today reported 131 more deaths due to the novel coronvirus disease (COVID-19) and 24,492 new cases of infection in the last 24 hours as the sharp rise in fresh cases in some States, especially Maharashtra, continued to be a cause of concern.
At 131, the number of deaths in the last 24 hours was higher than the 118 deaths reported yesterday.
However, the number of new cases of infection reported today, 24,492, was lower than the 26,291 recorded yesterday.
Of the 24,492 new cases reported today, Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in India, alone accounted for 15,051 cases. This is the fourth consecutive day that the state has registered more than 15,000 cases in a single day.
Maharashtra also accounted for 48 of the 131 deaths reported across the country in the last 24 hours.
Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the other states which have reported a spike in new cases of infection in recent days.
In Maharashtra, as part of the efforts to stem the rise in cases of infection, the state government on Monday decided to strictly implement the 50% restriction on the numbers of people that can gather at different places.
Accordingly, hotels, restaurants, cinemas and multiplexes will be permitted to operate at only 50% of their capacity. Shopping malls will have to implement stringent COVID-19 protocols, while all social, religious, political and social gatherings have been banned.
Similarly, all offices will adhere to the 50 per cent staff norms with Work From Home encouraged, and entries to all places of worship would be strictly regulated, depending on the space available.
Violations of the norms would be punished with the concerned establishments ordered to shut down till the pandemic remains in force as per the Centre's rules.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that strong regulations are being imposed for marriages and other social gatherings to curb the virus, besides other measures. The guest limit for weddings has been capped at 50 and 20 mourners for all funerals, said a notification late on Monday evening.
"Nearly 85 per cent of the cases are asymptomatic and are advised home treatment, and the death rate is low. The government is working on the 3-Ts - Tracking, Testing, Treatment - and the treatment facilities are being ramped up," Tope said.
He said the vaccination has been accelerated in the state with efforts to increase the number of vaccination centres in both government and private hospitals.
Tope said there was no shortage of vaccines and appealed to all people above 60 to get their dose as soon as possible.
With the latest numbers put out by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the death toll so far has risen to 158,856 while the total number of cases of infection in the country, since the first case was registered in late January last year, has risen to 11,409,831.
The number of deaths in a 24-hour period has remained below 200 for 55 consecutive days now. It has dropped below the 100-mark 19 times in the past 43 days.
The number of new cases of infection in a day rose above the 20,000-mark for the first time on March 11 after 57 days and has remained above that mark for six consecutive days now. It has fallen below 10,000 five times in the last 49 days.
The number of those who have recovered from COVID-19 rose to 11,027,543 as of this morning, up 20,191 from yesterday, making for a recovery rate of 96.64%.
The number of active cases went up by 4,170 in the last 24 hours to 223,432, the highest since January 8.
The highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 in a single day in the country -- 1,290 -- was reported on September 16 last year. India reported 118 deaths yesterday.
The highest number of fresh cases of infection in a 24-hour period -- 97,894 -- was reported on September 17 last year. India recorded 26,291 new cases yesterday.
The world has reported a total of 120.191 million cases of COVID-19 so far while the global death toll has climbed past 2.660 million as of this morning, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University in the United States, which is tracking the pandemic.
India is now placed third in the world in terms of the total number of cases of infection so far, behind the United States (more than 29.494 million cases) and Brazil (more than 11.519 million cases).
In terms of the number of deaths, the country now ranks fourth after the US (535,609), Brazil (279286) and Mexico (194,944).