India has reported 54,069 new COVID-19 cases and 1,321 deaths in the last 24 hours. This is the second straight day when the country witnessed a rise in the number of daily cases. India reported 50,848 COVID-19 cases and 1,358 deaths on Wednesday. With this, the total number of cases reached 3,00,82,778 and the death toll surged to 3,91,981.
India’s test positivity rate (positive cases identified for every 100 tests) continues to decline. For the 17th straight day it is below the 5 per cent-mark at 2.91 per cent.
Active cases have decreased by 16,137 in the last 24 hours to take the tally to 6,27,057. Recoveries have been outnumbering the daily new cases for the 42nd consecutive day now.
Kerala contributed 12,787 cases to the country’s daily numbers. It was followed by Maharashtra (10,066 cases) and Tamil Nadu (6,596 cases) .
More than 30 crore vaccine doses have been administered since the massive vaccination drive began on January 16. More than 58.34 lakh vaccine doses were given to the eligible beneficiaries on Wednesday, according to the government.
Maharashtra on Wednesday administered more than 6 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines, setting a new single-day record of inoculating people against the infection, news agency PTI reported quoting a top government official.
Amid a warning that children might be infected during the possible third wave of coronavirus, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that priority would be given to inoculate women having children aged up to 12 years.
Bharat Biotech – which produces Covaxin – is looking at vaccinating children of 2 years to 18 years and a number of children have already been vaccinated, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi, told media. In two-to-three months from now, experts in India will know if Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin works on children as young as two, he said.
Over 40 cases of the new Delta Plus strain, tagged as a “variant of concern”, have been detected till now across the country. This has prompted the centre to warn states like Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh to set up “immediate containment measures”.
However, one of India’s top doctors and genome sequencer has brushed aside concerns of this new mutant fuelling an upsurge in infections. “My institute has sequenced more than 3,500 samples from Maharashtra in the month of June, covering samples from April and May. We can see that these (Delta Plus variants) are very much there. But these would constitute less than one per cent,” Dr Anurag Agarwal, Director of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), told media.
About 2.2 per cent of India’s population has been affected by the disease so far, according to the government. “If effective containment strategies and Covid appropriate behaviour are followed, the number of cases in the third wave will not be to the extent that the health system comes under strain,” Health ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said.