India reported 5,233 covid cases in the last 24 hours, prompting doctors and scientists to renew their advice for people to wear masks and continue to follow covid-appropriate behaviour.The figure marked a jump of 1,500 over Tuesday’s 3,714 new cases.The total number of active caseload rose to over 28,800 across the country. “About 5,233 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours with active caseload shooting at 28,857,” said the ministry.In view of rising covid cases across the nation, Rajesh Bhushan, union health secretary had directed five States —Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Maharashtra — to continue monitoring the spread of infection and take the required steps for prompt and effective management of covid-19, as these states have reported a huge jump in new cases.Delhi alone had an active caseload of 1,534 covid cases. Maharashtra has 8,432 active cases, while Kerala has more than 9,000 active covid cases.Tamil Nadu has 927 active cases while Karnataka has reported 2,478 active cases so far. The health ministry has directed all these states to continue monitoring clusters of new covid-19 cases, conduct adequate testing, take steps in areas reporting high case positivity, and monitor influenza-like illness in all hospitals on a regular basis.The states have also been asked continue with vaccination of all eligible people.Dr Pragya Yadav, senior scientist at National Institute of Virology (Pune), said: “There could be multiple reasons behind the spike in covid cases. Firstly, schools are closed and a lot of families across the country are on vacation with their children, and people are travelling.“Secondly, the practice of wearing masks has been reduced. When less number of cases were reported, people thought that the virus has gone away. But the positive sign is that despite complete freedom, there is no increased hospitalization and severity of cases.“So, cases will always be reported. The only way is keep ourselves safe is through masking, vaccinating themselves, hand sanitizing and social distancing.”Dr RK Singal, senior consultant at the department of internal medicine at BKL Hospital (New Delhi), said: “For the last 20 days, we have seen a surge in covid cases and lot of patients are being diagnosed with mild illness. The good thing is that there is no major hospitalization and need for the oxygen support. However, it seems that people have taken covid lightly and not following preventive measures. Wearing of masks is very important if we are in public places.”In the last 24 hours, more than 3,345 patients have recovered. Since the onset of the pandemic more than 42.6 million people have recovered from covid. The country has conducted over 853.5 million covid tests till date, including 313,000 in the last 24 hours. Under the covid vaccination drive, more than 1.94 billion doses have been administered so far.