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Kerala, West bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi have reported a rise in the number COVID-19 cases during festivals, the health ministry said on Monday.

Addressing a press conference, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan cautioned people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour during festivals.

"It is important to wear a mask, wash hands regularly and maintain physical distancing. We have found that during festival, cases have increased in Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi, so it is even more important to follow these principles," he said.

In the last 24 hours, 58% of the fresh COVID-19 deaths in the country were reported from Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, the official said.

He added that 49.4% of the fresh coronavirus cases in the said period were reported from Kerala (4,287) West Bengal (4,121) , Maharashtra (3,645), Karnataka (3,130) and Delhi (2,832).

"We are in touch with these states. We have sent our teams to these states too, some of the teams are returning while others are still there in the states. After they submit their reports, we will again speak to the states and tell them what changes, if any, should be brought in the strategy to tackle COVID-19.

"We had a talk with Kerala, West Bengal and Delhi just the day before and we will talk to Maharashtra this week to form a strategy," Bhushan said.

Responding to a question, he said at the end of the day, "we should not just look at the cumulative figures, but should also look at how these number are changing in the last 24, 48 and 72 hours, as it gives us indications of fine-tuning the strategy required to tackle the pandemic".

In Delhi, for three successive days, the number of daily coronavirus cases was over 4,000, then it came down and in the last 24 hours, just 2,800 cases were reported, Bhushan said, adding that however, the worrying factor is the 8.06% daily cumulative positivity rate and the seven per cent weekly cumulative positivity rate the city is reporting and "these two things have to be seen in tandem".

Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka account for 48.57% of the total COVID-19 cases in the country, while 10 states and Union territories account for 78% of the total caseload, he added.

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka account for 54.6% of the total COVID-19 deaths in the country, while 10 states account for 86% of the fatalities, Bhushan said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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