Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Friday wrote to all states and Union Territories (UTs) amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and reiterated the significance of COVID appropriate behaviour.
In his letter, Bhalla reiterated the significance of wearing masks, hand hygiene and social distancing, to avoid getting infected with the coronavirus. He has instructed to maintain strict surveillance to fully overcome the pandemic.
India on Friday saw 39,726 new coronavirus infections, the highest single-day rise recorded so far this year, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally of cases to 1,15,14,331, according to Union Health Ministry.
The daily rise in infections (39,726) was the highest recorded in 110 days, while the death toll increased to 1,59,370 with 154 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
Registering an increase for the ninth day in a row, the total active caseload has reached 2,71,282, which now comprises 2.36 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 96.26 per cent, the data stated.
As many as 41,810 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours on November 29.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,10,83,679, while the case fatality rate has further to 1.38 per cent, the data stated.
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 ICMR, 23,13,70,546 samples have been tested up to March 18 with 10,57,383 samples being tested on Thursday.
The 154 new fatalities include 58 from Maharashtra, 32 from Punjab and 15 from Kerala.
A total of 1,59,370 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 53,138 from Maharashtra, 12,573 from Tamil Nadu, 12,415 from Karnataka, 10,949 from Delhi, 10,300 from West Bengal, 8,753 from Uttar Pradesh and 7,186 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.
(With inputs from PTI)