India's tally of coronavirus cases crossed 2.2 lakh on Thursday with a record spike of over 9,000 new cases and several states reporting their highest one-day surge, even as efforts were accelerated to restart long-stalled business activities to contain the economic cost of the pandemic.
The Union Health Ministry released standard operating procedures for reopening offices, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and religious places. Some of them have already re-opened in parts of the country and few others are scheduled to re-start from Monday.
In its morning update, the Union Health Ministry said the total number of positive cases had crossed 2.16 lakh with a record spike of 9,304 new cases since 8 AM Wednesday across the country, while the number of deaths had increased to 6,075 with 260 more fatalities in this period.
A tally of figures announced by different states and union territories, as of 8 PM, showed a higher number of confirmed cases across the country at 2,22,879.
India is now the seventh worst-hit nation after the US, Brazil, Russia, the UK, Spain and Italy. In terms of fatalities, India is ranked 12th at present, while it is placed at eighth place in terms of recoveries. However, India figures among the top-five countries in terms of active cases.
The health ministry also said that the number of active COVID-19 cases now stands at 1,06,737, while the count of recoveries has risen to 1,04,107 with 3,804 patients recovering in the last 24 hours.
"The recovery rate is 47.99 per cent amongst COVID-19 patients," the ministry said.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the rising number of COVID cases, a high positivity rate and low testing level in parts of the national capital was worrisome. He stressed on a need for ramping up testing, coupled with aggressive surveillance, contact tracing and stringent containment and perimeter control measures.
Chairing a high-level meeting through video-conference to review the preparedness for prevention and control of the novel coronavirus infection in Delhi, Mr Vardhan expressed concern over all districts of the national capital being affected by COVID-19, and high positivity rates and low testing levels in many districts.
Delhi recorded 1,359 fresh coronavirus cases on Thursday, which took the city's COVID-19 tally past the 25,000-mark, and the number of deaths to 650, authorities said.
Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said his government's entire focus is on saving lives and ensuring adequate facilities for COVID-19 patients who need hospital care, without getting entangled in data or any competition with other states.
He said COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Delhi and the government has started focusing on ensuring that those who need hospitalisation get beds and proper treatment facilities.
While Delhi has moved up to the No. 3 spot in India for coronavirus cases, Maharashtra remains the worst hit.
Maharashtra registered its highest single-day spike of 2,933 COVID-19 cases, taking its tally of confirmed cases to 77,793, while the number of deaths rose to 2,710 after 123 fresh fatalities. The number of discharged patients in the state also rose to 33,681.
Of the 123 deaths, 68 were reported in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
In West Bengal, COVID-19 deaths rose to 283 with 10 more fatalities, while the state's case count rose by 368 to 6,876.
Tamil Nadu also reported its highest single-day spike of 1,384 cases to take its tally to 27,256, while the number of deaths rose to 220.
(With inputs from PTI)