With 17,296 COVID-19 cases, India on Friday recorded the highest one-day increase continuing a grim trend this month during which it has registered about 60 per cent of the total of nearly five lakh infections.
As Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh recorded the highest daily jump, it was for the seventh day in a row that the coronavirus cases galloped by over 14,000.
The cases spiked by 5,024 in Maharashtra and it was 3,645 in Tamil Nadu while AP and West Bengal witnessed a jump of 605 and 542 infections respectively.
The country has so far reported 4,90,401 coronavirus cases after the number of infections rose by 17,296 while the death toll also crossed the 15,000-mark with 407 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The death count now stood at 15,301, it said.
Between June 1 and June 26, the country recorded 2,99,866 cases, an analysis of the data showed.
The recovery rate is, however, steadily improving to touch 58.24 per cent, the ministry said.
With coronavirus cases on the rise, the Assam government announced a 12-hour night curfew across the state from Friday and a 14-day complete lockdown in Kamrup (Metro) district, of which Guwahati city is a part, from June 28 midnight while traders of Hyderabad's largest wholesale market Begum Bazar in Telangana decided to shut shops for eight days from Sunday.
Telangana has been witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases for the past several days with 920 people testing positive on Thursday, taking the tally to 11,364.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Guwahati, the gateway to the northeast region, has reported 762 coronavirus cases since June 15, and 677 of them have no travel history, though many had come in contact with those returned to the state from outside.
10 districts and cities--Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai(Tamil Nadu), Thane, Palghar and Pune in Maharashtra , Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy in Telangana, Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Faridabad in Haryana--have accounted for 54.47 per cent of the total caseload, a health ministry official said.
As the populous state of Uttar Pradesh reported 19 new COVID-19 fatalities and 750 infections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi showered praise on Yogi Adityanath for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the vast preparations made by the chief minister saved at least 85,000 lives, something that was unthinkable before 2017.
A serological survey to undertake a comprehensive analysis of COVID-19 and prepare a broad strategy to combat the pandemic will be carried out in Delhi from Saturday, the Union Home Ministry said.
"As per the directives of HM @AmitShah, discussion was done on the serological survey in Delhi, which will be carried out jointly by NCDC and Delhi Government.
"Survey will begin from June 27, training of all the concerned survey teams was completed yesterday," a home ministry spokesperson tweeted.
Delhi is the second worst affected state after Maharashtra both in terms of case load and death toll which was 77,240 and 2,942 respectively. The cases rose by 3,460 and fatalities by 63 in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra has accounted for 1,52,765 cases and 6,931 deaths.
Augmented testing is being attributed for the surge in COVID-19 cases in the last few days in several parts of the country.
As part of efforts to expand the COVID-19 testing labs network, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has added 11 new COVID-19 labs in 24 hours to take the total to 1,016 labs.
According to the ICMR, 77,76,228 samples have been tested till June 25 with 2,15,446 samples being analysed on Thursday.
Tamil Nadu reported 3,645 new cases, the highest in a day so far, taking the total to 74,622, a health department bulletin said. This is the second successive day of 3,500 plus fresh virus cases.
Chennai, which is under fresh lockdown from last Friday till July 31, accounted for 1,956 of the new cases, and its share of the total tally stood at 49,690.
The COVID-19 graph continued its steep incline in Andhra Pradesh crossing the 11,000-mark with the addition of 605 cases, the single highest one day spike, according to a health bulletin.
The number of COVID-19 cases in West Bengal registered its highest single-day increase, recording 542 fresh infections, to push the tally to 16,190, officials said.
Karnataka breached the 11,000 mark with the state reporting 445 new positive cases. In all, 12 states have recorded over 12,000 cases.
Kerala's COVID-19 tally is inching towards the 4,000 mark as the state continued to see a sharp spike for the eighth consecutive day with 150 people including six CISF personnel and a health worker being infected on Friday.
With the addition of the fresh cases, the infection count in the state has reached 3,876.
Modi, who launched the 'Atma nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rozgar Abhiyan' seeking to promote local entrepreneurship with industrial associations to provide employment, said UP's population of 24 crore is same as that of four European countries put together but in the state the death toll is 600 due to coronavirus and lauded his efforts.
"UP's achievement is massive... The population of 24 crore is bigger than that of many countries. The population of England, France, Italy and Spain put together comes to 24 crore but they saw 1.30 lakh deaths due to coronavirus," he said, adding these four countries lost more lives than UP even though they are developed nations and have no dearth of facilities.
Referring to the scenario in United States, he said, "You must have seen reports of America. They have everything but even then 1.25 lakh lives have been lost till now."
"If Yogiji and his team had not made proper preparations, today 85,000 people would have lost their lives if we compare with other countries. We can say that the hard work done by the UP government saved so many lives."
The death toll in UP stood at 630 while the caseload touched 20,943, said Additional Chief Secreatry, Medical and Health, Amit Mohan Prasad.
A central team visiting Gujarat, meanwhile, asked some searching questions about the Ahmedabad civic body's strategy of handling the coronavirus situation in certain pockets of the city.
The team led by by Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal visited different areas of Ahmedabad city, the worst-hit by the infection in the state to review the measures undertaken by the authorities to contain the spread of the infection, said officials.
At one point, Agarwal raised questions over the strategy of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in declaring 'micro-containment' zones as he felt a proactive approach was missing in tackling the crisis.
At Mansi circle, the civic body's Medical Officer of Health, Dr Bhavin Solanki, failed to give a convincing answer when Agarwal sought to know why a particular housing society was not declared a micro-containment zone as soon as the first few cases emerged there in May-end.
The brief conversation was captured on cameras and broadcast by local TV channels.
Gujarat has so far reported over 29,500 coronavirus cases and 1,750 deaths.
The COVID-19 death rate of the state is amongst the highest at 5.93 per cent in the country.
In Ahmedabad, which has so far registered 19,839 cases and 1,390 deaths, the death rate is as high as 7 per cent.