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As India continues to record a surge in coronavirus infection right ahead of the 75th Independence Day celebration, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an advisory urging States and Union Territories to avoid large congregations in the ceremony of Independence Day as a precaution against Covid-19, news agency ANI reported. 

India on Friday recorded 16,561 new coronavirus cases, according to the Union Health Ministry data. With these additions, the country's overall Covid-19 figures rose to 4,42,23,557 cases and 5,26,928 deaths.

The data showed that active cases currently stands at 1,23,535, now constituting 0.28% of the total infections. The Covid-19 recovery rate stood at 98.53%, the health ministry said, adding the daily positivity rate was 5.44% and the weekly positivity rate was 4.88%.

National capital Delhi has also recorded an alarming surge in coronavirus cases and the virus related deaths. the positivity rate in the national capital surged to 14 %. As many as 2,311 Covid cases and 1 related fatality were reported from Delhi on Thursday. The positivity rate in the state touched 13.84%, the city health department data showed.

For the fourth consecutive day that the daily count of Covid cases crossed the 2,000 mark.

The Home Ministry also asked government departments and educational institutions to carry out tree plantation programmes to spread awareness for conservation of environment.

Ahead of several festivals that will be celebrated throughout the country, health experts have suggested that every citizen exercise caution and avoid over crowded areas. They have also said that people should be wearing masks abide by Covid Appropriate Behaviour. 

A health expert said, "During the monsoon season and the upcoming festival season, there is a high risk of contracting and spreading infections. Food and water-borne infections, as well as respiratory tract infections, are highly possible."

"In addition, those invited for celebrations should be immunised against Covid-19. Those who have not yet taken their booster dose should do so. Since monsoon season is going on, the chances of getting a viral infection like cold, cough etc is higher. Keeping that in mind, people should maintain hygiene, make sure that their food is freshly cooked and not left out for an extended period of time. People, particularly children, should avoid eating junk food and street food," she added.

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