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NEW DELHI: India reported 16,561 fresh coronavirus infections and 49 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per the health ministry’s update on Friday. The country’s active caseload currently stands at 1,23,535, with total reported cases since March 2020--when the pandemic hit--4.42 crore. Total death toll stands at 5,26,928.

The national capital, meanwhile, has announced a mask mandate again following a rise in infections over the past fortnight. People caught without masks in public places in the national capital will have to pay a fine of 500 rupees.

Around 207.47crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive, with 17,72,441 doses administered in the last 24 hours.

The Union government has directed seven states--Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana--reporting a surge of covid cases to continue to monitor the spread of infection and advised them to increase the pace of vaccination, especially the administration of free precautionary doses for all above 18 years of age.

Given some changes in symptoms and clinical manifestation of the disease, states have been asked to monitor and report district wise lnfluenza-like illness (lLl) & SARI cases in all health facilities on a regular basis for early warning signals on the spread of the infection.

With increasing number of cases amid low uptake of booster doses across India, the Centre has announced free-of-cost booster doses to all above 18 years old at government-run vaccination centres.

India has conducted over 87.95 crore covid tests till date, with 3,04,189 done in the last 24 hours.

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