Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked people to exercise care during the coming festive season in view of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. There, however, is a sense of "discipline" among the people already, he added. Over the last 24 hours, the country logged more than 78,000 cases -- the highest single-day spike anywhere in the world.
The record surge took the Covid tally past 35 lakh -- pushing the country towards the 38 lakh figure of Brazil, which ranks second in the list of nations hit worst by the virus. The US has more than 59 lakh cases.
"This is a time for festivals but there is a sense of discipline among people due to Covid," PM Modi said during his monthly radio address Mann ki Baat today. "The coronavirus will be defeated only if you follow safety measures. The 2-metre distance norm should be strictly followed," he added.
Several states have already dialled down their festivities, with Maharashtra leading the list on Ganesh Chaturthi. The Uddhav Thackeray government banned processions both for Ganesh idol immersion and Muharram, which also took place in the same period.
The Onam festival is also muted this year in view of the pandemic. "We should celebrate it following all COVID-19 protocol. All public gatherings and public celebrations should be avoided," Kerala Chief Minister PInarayi Vijayan said yesterday.
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have been reporting the highest number of fresh cases. These five states also recorded the highest number of deaths, according to government data.
The Centre has however, told states that lockdown can't be imposed outside containment zones.
On Saturday, the government announced guidelines for the fourth phase of unlocking, which included resumption of metro services from September 7 and public gatherings in a limited fashion.