A health worker in takes a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19. File photo
For the first time in weeks, India’s daily cases dropped below 300,000, but daily deaths remained above 4,000 and experts said the count was unreliable due to a lack of testing in rural areas where the virus is spreading fast.
On Monday the health ministry said around 280,000 cases and 4,106 deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. Both numbers are almost certainly undercounts.
Even with a downturn over the past few days, experts said there was no certainty that infections had peaked, with alarm growing both at home and abroad over the highly contagious B.1.617 variant first found in India.
For months now, nowhere in the world has been hit harder than India by the pandemic, as a new strain of the virus fuelled a surge in infections that has risen to more than 400,000 daily.
Indian Health Ministry said around 280,000 cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours.
"There are still many parts of the country which have not yet experienced the peak, they are still going up," World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan was quoted as saying in the "Hindu" newspaper.
Swaminathan pointed to the "very high" national positivity rate, at about 20% of tests conducted, as a sign that there could be worse to come.
"Testing is still inadequate in a large number of states. And when you see high test positivity rates, clearly we are not testing enough.
A new strain of the virus fuelled a surge in infections that has risen to more than 400,000 daily.
"And so the absolute numbers actually don't mean anything when they are taken just by themselves; they have to be taken in the context of how much testing is done, and test positivity rate."
The southern state of Karnataka has suspended vaccinations for the 18-44 age group in government-run centers, and a number of states are looking into directly getting shots from overseas to fill a domestic shortage.
On Sunday, health officials said around 5 million doses will be sent to the states this week.
India has the second-highest caseload after the US with more than 24 million confirmed infections and over 270,000 fatalities.
Firefighters and 15 fire engines contained the fire to the intensive care unit at Shrey Hospital and it was extinguished in half an hour, fire officer Yusuf Khan said.
The United States now advises against travelling to India, even for those fully vaccinated, while Britain has added India to its "red list". Hong Kong and New Zealand have banned flights.
In its report Tuesday, the Health Ministry also listed 488 new fatalities from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, raising the overall death toll to 119,502.
A 30-year-old unemployed Arab man was arrested for impersonating an undercover police officer in women's attire and robbing an Asian man of Dhs6,700 in Al Rigga, Dubai.
The Ministry stressed in a statement its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
The reopening of the facilities will enable the gradual return of 40 plus international carriers that are currently operating at Terminals 2 and 3 back to their home terminal at DXB.
It also indicated that the product is not allowed for sale in the UAE, pointing out that the product may enter the country with those coming from abroad, or it may be purchased via the Internet and social networking websites.