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image captionPoor safety protocols such as not wearing masks is one reason for the surge

India has recorded its highest single-day spike this year on Monday, with 26,110 new coronavirus cases reported in the last 24 hours.

The western state of Maharashtra, which has long been a virus hotspot, accounts for more than half the new infections.

India’s caseload began to dip at the start of 2021, but poor adherence to Covid safety norms seems to be driving a fresh surge in several states.

India has so far recorded more than 11 million Covid cases and 158,000 deaths.

image captionIndia records highest single-day spike this year

Scientists are on the hunt for new variants amid fears that they could be one of the reasons for the uptick.

The other is laxity in following Covid-19 safety protocols. Lack of masking and social distancing, and poor test and trace have all added to the spike in Maharashtra, Dr Sanjay Oak, a member of the state’s Covid task force, told the BBC recently.

The latest spike comes early on in India’s vaccination drive, which began in January. Nearly 30 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine so far.

The rollout is currently targeting elderly people and those with co-morbidities, but is expected to expand further soon.

The government in Maharashtra put Nagpur district, which has the country’s second-highest active caseload, under lockdown last week. It was the second lockdown in the state, which currently has the highest number of active and confirmed cases in India.

Other districts have followed with restrictions such as night curfews and closure of markets to stem the rise in cases.

Six other states – Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh – are also reporting a surge in infections.

media captionHealth workers were the first in line to get Covid jabs