The central government on Thursday said the months of September and October will be crucial in pandemic management and cautioned that festivals should be celebrated in accordance with COVID-19-appropriate behaviour.
Addressing a media briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reiterated that the country is still in the midst of the second wave.
ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said vaccines are disease-modifying and not disease-preventing so it is very important to continue the use of masks even after vaccination.
Bhushan said, "We are still in the midst of the second surge of COVID-19 in our country. The second surge has not yet concluded. It is not over and therefore, we have to maintain all necessary precautions, particularly in light of our experience that after every festival we see a spike."
"The coming months of September and October are crucial for us because we would be celebrating a few festivals. Thus festivals have to be celebrated with Covid-appropriate behaviour," he added.
The government said 41 districts in India were reporting a COVID-19 weekly positivity rate of more than 10 per cent.
According to the government, 58.4 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases last week were reported from Kerala.
"Kerala is the only state reporting over 1 lakh active COVID-19 cases, while four states have 10,000 to 1 lakh active cases and 31 states have less than 10,000 active cases," it said.
The government said over 400 evacuees were brought back from Afghanistan so far and that some of them have tested positive for COVID-19. The infected people have been isolated and are being treated.
With 46,164 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has increased to 3,25,58,530, while the active cases rose to 3,33,725, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.
The death toll climbed to 4,36,365 with 607 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.
The active cases comprise 1.03 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.63 per cent, the ministry said.