New Delhi: India has 3,31,146 active COVID-19 cases, which is around a third of the country's infection tally that rose to 9.68 lakh on Thursday, the Union health ministry said, crediting targeted measures for the steady decline in the active caseload.

"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 63.25% have recovered so far. Simultaneously, there has been a steady dip in the number of active cases, from around 45% in mid-June to around 34.18% as of now," the ministry said.

A total of 20,783 people have recuperated in the past 24 hours, the highest number of recoveries in a day, taking the total number of recovered cases to 6,12,814, the updated data at 8 am showed.

"Focus on early identification and clinical management is aiding recoveries in COVID-19 patients. Now, the recoveries exceed active cases by 2,81,669," the ministry said.

The recoveries are 1.85 times the number of active cases, it said.

The ministry said the recovery rate rose to 50% mid-June and thereafter there has been a steady rise in recoveries and a decline in the number of active cases.

The country's COVID-19 tally surged to 9,68,876 on Thursday.

The ministry said the actual caseload of COVID-19 has remained limited and manageable due to proactive containment measures such as house-to-house survey, perimeter control activities, timely contact tracing, aggressive testing and timely diagnosis, and effective clinical management of moderate and severe cases through a well-implemented standard of care protocol increasing their chances of recovery.

Hospital infrastructure includes 1,381 Dedicated COVID Hospitals, 3,100 Dedicated COVID Healthcare Centres and 10,367 COVID Care Centres with a total of 46,666 ICU beds.

"Collaborative strategy among the Centre and states has also ensured that the growth of COVID-19 cases in restricted to certain pockets of the country," the ministry said in a statement.

Just two states -- Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu -- account for 48.15% of the country's total active caseload. Ten states constitute 84.62% of the total active caseload, it said, adding the Centre continues to handhold these states in matters of containment and effective clinical management.

The ministry said that as per the “test, trace, treat” strategy, the central government is driving enhanced testing initiatives in states and union territories as a result, of which there has been a steady rise in the number of testing labs across the country.

The increased testing is in accordance with the ICMR guidelines and has helped in early detection of cases.

The testing includes the RT-PCR which is the golden standard of the COVID-19 testing. This has been augmented with Rapid Antigen Point of Care (POC) testing that gives results within half-hour.

"This has resulted in ramped up testing in the containment and buffer zones. This has significantly helped in controlling the spread of the infection," the ministry said.

The ministry said that 3,26,826 samples have been tested for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of 1,27,39,490 samples tested so far has translated to a figure of 9231.5 testing per million for India.

All registered medical practitioners can now recommend testing. This coupled with the facilitation of widespread testing by states and UTs through the RT-PCR, TrueNat and CBNAAT lab network has contributed to a surge in the number of samples tested, it said.

The testing lab network in the country is further strengthened with 1234 labs in the country; 874 labs in the government sector and 360 private labs.

Joint efforts by the Centre, states and Union Territories to increase testing capacity, ramping up health infrastructure, prioritising surveillance in SARI/ILI cases, and ensuring mapping of the aged population and those with comorbidities have led to continuous improvement in recovery rates across India, the ministry added.

India's COVID-19 tally rose to 9,68,876 on Thursday with a record single-day spike of 32,695 cases while the death toll climbed to 24,915 with 606 people succumbing to the disease, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated at 8 am.

(With inputs from PTI)