Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:
India recorded more than 30,000 fresh cases today for the third consecutive day. Today's surge is nearly four per cent higher than the daily spike in cases recorded yesterday morning when 39,726 new cases were added. The country has been recording more than 20,000 cases since last week.
Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh account for 80.63 per cent of the daily new cases, according to the Health Ministry.
On Friday, Maharashtra reported 25,681, which was over 60 per cent of the countrywide total of daily coronavirus cases. State capital Mumbai, meanwhile, recorded 3,062 Covid cases, which is the city's highest single-day rise ever.
In Madhya Pradesh, the state government has announced a lockdown in capital Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur. The three cities will remain shut from 10 pm on Saturday to 6 am on Monday, and their schools and colleges will remain closed till March 31, the state government said on Friday. The announcement comes amid a massive surge of Covid cases in Maharashtra with which the state shares its border.
All educational institutions will remain closed in Punjab from today till the end of the month as part of the state-wide restrictions to arrest the surge in coronavirus cases. The Amarinder Singh government has also imposed restrictions on cinema and mall capacities.
On Friday, Delhi reported 716 cases, its highest daily high this year. It is also the first time that the national capital breached the 700-mark. On December 27, Delhi had recorded 757 cases.
India is witnessing surge in Covid cases amid a countrywide vaccination drive through which over four crore people have been administered anti-Covid vaccine jabs so far.
Serum Institute's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin have been currently approved for restricted emergency use in India. Last week, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had announced that more than six coronavirus vaccines will come up in India.
Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday, while speaking in Lok Sabha, said that there should not be any misconceptions about the two Indian vaccines being administered in the country. "No one should have any doubts about the COVID-19 vaccines. I urge all to take the vaccine shots," said the Union Minister.
Meanwhile, a study has found that the novel coronavirus was likely circulating undetected for at most two months before the first human cases of COVID-19 were described in Wuhan, China in late-December 2019. The research, published in the journal Science, used molecular dating tools and epidemiological simulations to date the emergence of the virus to as early as October 2019. More than 12 crore people have been affected worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic; 26 lakh have died.