Active cases decreased by 19,327 over the last 24 hours to settle at 6,43,194. In the last 24 hours 68,817 patients were listed as having recovered from the infection; total recoveries are 2.89 crore. Daily recoveries have been outnumbering daily new cases for 41 consecutive days now.
India achieved a "historic milestone" on June 21 - 88.09 lakh vaccine doses were administered in 24 hours. That number dipped to around 53.4 lakh yesterday. To meet the government's target of vaccinating all adults by end-2021, 97 lakh vaccinations need to be carried out per day. Concerns over supply of doses and access to remote areas raise questions about meeting that target.
There are over 40 cases of the 'delta plus' variant of the virus - a mutated version first detected in India last year - in the country. The government has tagged this version a "variant of concern" and warned three states - Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh - of its possible spread. Scientists say the 'delta plus' strain has evolved to acquire an immune escape mutation.
Bharat Biotech - makers of the Covaxin vaccine, one of only two in use in India at this time - is 77.8 per cent effective in protecting against COVID-19, according to data from Phase III trials that were recommended by the national drug regulator yesterday.
This will likely also help Bharat Biotech secure an EUL (emergency use listing) from the World Health Organization. An EUL will allow export of Covaxin and enable easier international travel for Indians vaccinated with the drug, which is not yet recognised by some foreign governments.
Schools - shut since March last year due to pandemic - will only re-open once a significant portion of the population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, the government has said. Although Telangana has said it will re-open schools and colleges next month, the government urged caution, saying: "A lot of things need to be considered - vaccination of teachers and maintaining social distance... don't want to (risk) our children and teachers unless we are confident..."
Yesterday Maharashtra reported 8,470 new cases - up from 6,270 a day ago - taking its overall count to 59.87 lakh. 188 Covid-linke deaths were also recorded. Overall, nearly 1.19 lakh deaths have been linked the virus, the state health department said.
Also yesterday Kerala - which reported over 12,000 new cases in 24 hours - announced further relaxations in lockdown regulations, while cautioning the public against a possible third wave. The relaxations come into effect on Thursday and include limited re-opening of places of worship.
Jharkhand - which has reported 5,100 Covid-linked deaths so far - has expressed concern over mutated versions of the virus - 'alpha', 'delta' and 'kappa' - that are said to be more transmissible. In a bid to increase the number of health workers available, the state approved a one-time extension of retirement age for government doctors - by up to 10 months.
The 'delta' variant of the virus is the greatest threat to the United States' effort to eradicate COVID-19 within its borders, infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said yesterday. "Transmissibility is unquestionably greater" when compared to the original strain, he said, adding that "it is associated with an increased disease severity".
New Delhi: India reported 50,848 new COVID-19 cases and 1,358 deaths in a 24-hour period ending Wednesday morning. This is 19 per cent more than was recorded yesterday. India has reported over three crore cases since the pandemic began.