A medical worker takes a swab sample from a man at a test centre in Srinagar, India, on Thursday. AFP
India reported a record 126,789 coronvirus cases on Thursday as several states struggle to contain a second surge in infections, complaining of vaccine shortages and demanding inoculations be expanded to younger people.
India started its vaccination drive in January. So far, more than 90 million health workers and those over 45 million have received at least one shot. Only 11 million have received both doses as India tries to build immunity to protect its nearly 1.4 billion people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi got his second shot and urged others to follow suit, saying "vaccination is among the few ways we have to defeat the virus.”
Narendra Modi (left) receives the second dose of coronavirus vaccine at AIIMS hospital in New Delhi. PIB/AFP
The new cases reported by the Health Ministry overtook Wednesday’s 115,736 infections with dozens of cities and towns imposing night curfews to try to contain infections.
Daily infections, which surpassed 100,000 for the first time on Monday, have now exceeded that mark three times, the biggest daily rises in the world.
The spike, much faster than last year's first wave, has caught the authorities by surprise. The government blames the resurgence mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks as shops and offices have reopened.
India tries to build immunity to protect its nearly 1.4 billion people.
India started its vaccination drive in January. So far, more than 90 million health workers and Indians older than 45 have received at least one shot. Only 11 million of them have received both doses as India tries to build immunity to protect its nearly 1.4 billion people.
Dozens of cities and towns are imposing night curfews to try to contain the surge but the federal government has refused to impose a second nationwide lockdown for fear of hurting the economy.Fatalities rose by 685 in the past 24 hours, the highest since November. The western state of Maharashtra, the worst hit in the country, accounted for nearly 47% of new infections.
The country's total COVID-19 caseload now stands at 28.4 million, while total fatalities are at 337,989, according to data from the health ministry.
The first death due to COVID-19 in the country was reported last year in March. On May 23 this year, India witnessed the highest fatalities with 4,454 deaths in 24 hours.
The Health Ministry on Saturday put the total number of cases in India at 173,763 with 4,971 deaths. The total infections included 86,422 active cases and 82,369 recoveries.
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