Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:
Total active cases - total cases minus recovered people - continued to fall and were close to 4 lakh. Daily recoveries remained significantly higher than new infections as 42,533 people were discharged. With this, more than 90.58 lakh people have recovered from coronavirus till now.
India's average daily case count has been on the decline, slowly but consistently, since the September peak. However, some smaller states have seen a sharp rise in their infection rate with experts attributing it to laxity in mask wearing and social distancing during festivals and elections in the last month.
At 127 deaths, Maharashtra - worst-hit state in terms of overall 18.4 lakh cases - recorded the highest one-day fatalities. It was followed by Delhi with 73 deaths, West Bengal (52), Uttar and Kerala with 29 deaths each, and Punjab with 20 deaths. High death count was also observed in states like Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat, all of which have been recording a surge in cases.
Together these states account for 75 per cent of all deaths in the country.
The five states with highest daily cases were Kerala and Maharashtra - with around 5,500 cases each - followed by Delhi with almost 4,000 cases, West Bengal with 3,206 cases and Rajasthan with almost 2,000 new infections.
India has said that an estimated 1 crore health workers and 2 crore frontline workers - armed forces, police personnel, and municipal workers - would be the first set of Indians to be inoculated against COVID-19 once a new vaccine is ready for distribution in the country.
India has eight vaccine candidates - three of them indigenous. The country is betting on fast approval of the Oxford vaccine in the next few weeks.
Britain and Bahrain - a small Gulf nation - have both approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for general use.
To battle vaccine hesitancy, more and more leaders are volunteering to take the first doses of COVID-19 shots that are ready for rollout. US president-elect Joe Biden, and former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all volunteered. The WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he was happy to be vaccinated on camera to help promote public confidence.
Amid record daily infections and deaths - two people dying every minute - in the ongoing festival season, US leaders urgently called on Americans to wear masks and threatened drastic stay-at-home orders.