New Delhi, March 20:

In the highest single-day spike in 2021, India recorded 40,953 fresh Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, while 188 deaths took the toll to 1,59,558, the dashboard of the Union health ministry showed on Saturday at 8am. This is the highest surge in 111 days as on November 29, 41,810 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours.

With this hike, the number of active cases in the country went past 2.8 lakh and settled at 2,88,394. The total tally on Saturday reached 11,555,284 — 2.36 per cent of which is active cases.

For 10 days straight, India has been registering over 20,000 fresh infections daily. The gap between daily cases and daily recoveries is widening steadily. Against 40,953 fresh infections recorded in the last 24 hours, there were 23,653 recoveries.

As the Covid-19 situation in the country is taking a worrying turn, the Centre on Friday wrote to all states and Union territories asking them to make sure that all Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is being stringently followed. “It has been observed that it is largely due to laxity in the observance of COVID-appropriate behaviour by people, especially at crowded places,” Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote.

Daily cases in the country reached a peak on September 11 when over 98,000 cases were recorded. Since then, the daily surge has been receding with the number falling as low as below 10,000 in January 2021. Since February, the number is on the rise and in March, the daily infection tally went above 20,000 and within 10 days, it reached beyond 40,000.

Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab are contributing the highest to the daily caseload, with Maharashtra topping the chart.

On Friday, Maharashtra recorded 25m681 new infections and 70 fatalities. Kerala’s daily spike has become stable as the state is recording around 2,000 new infections daily. On Friday, Kerala reported 1,984 fresh Covid-19 cases, while its active caseload came down to 25,158, as the state is also maintaining a high recovery rate.