New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The central government on Friday expressed concerns over the alarming spike in coronavirus cases across the country and directed states and union territories (UTs) to strictly ensure that appropriate COVID-19 norms, like wearing masks and maintaining adequate distance from others, are practised.

In a letter to all states and UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that coronavirus cases are rising because people were not strictly observing safety norms, directing officials to create public awareness about the infection.

"After a steady decline in the number of COVID-19 cases for about five months, for the last few weeks, the number is showing an increasing trend in several parts of the country. It has been observed that it is largely due to laxity in the observance of COVID-appropriate behaviour by people, especially at crowded places," Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said.

"Necessary guidelines issued by the respective state governments and UT administrations in this regard should be widely disseminated to the public and field functionaries for implementation," he added.

Coronavirus cases have been rising alarmingly across India -- especially in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh -- since February this year. Amid this, several states, including Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, have reimposed restrictions on public gatherings.

On Saturday, the Union Health Ministry said that nearly 41,000 fresh coronavirus cases were reported across the country, the highest daily-rise since November 29. Since last week, India has been reported more than 20,000 coronavirus cases daily.

The Union Health Ministry also noted that there are 2.88 lakh active coronavirus cases in India while more than 1.11 crore people have recovered so far, taking the country's recovery rate to 96.12 per cent. Meanwhile, the death toll in India stands at 1.59 lakh, a fatality rate of 1.38 per cent.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma