Government imports 6000 oxygen cylinders to battle oxygen crisis in Delhi. Photo: PTI
On Friday morning, India recorded 1,86,364 new COVID-19 cases, taking the country’s total tally of confirmed cases to 2,75,55,457.
The death toll rose by 3,660 new fatalities to 3,18,895, according to the Union health ministry.
The country now has 23,43,152 active cases, comprising 8.50% of the total infections. The national COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 90.34%.
Across the world, there have now been over 168 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins University, the global death toll due to COVID-19 stands at 3,507,471.
The US has recorded 33,217,718 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while India is in second place with 27,369,093 cases, followed by Brazil (16,342,162). The US has also recorded the highest death toll, with 593,282 fatalities so far. The death toll has also been high in Brazil (456,674), India (315,235) and Mexico (222,661).
India kicked off the “world’s largest” vaccination programme on January 16, to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. Public health authorities hope to inoculate 300 million high-risk people over the next six to eight months. The first to get the vaccine will be 30 million health and other frontline workers, followed by about 270 million people aged over 50 or deemed high-risk.
Two vaccine candidates ‒ the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate known as Covishield in India and Covaxin, indigenously developed by Hyderabad-based company Bharat Biotech together with the Indian Council of Medical Research – are being given to beneficiaries.
The second phase of the vaccine rollout began on March 1, allowing people above the age of 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities to receive shots of the vaccine candidates. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the first dose Covaxin shot on March 1, and encouraged others to take the vaccine.
From April 1, all those above 45, irrespective of whether they have comorbidities or not, have been eligible to receive the vaccine candidates. From May 1, the next phase of vaccinations began – amid hiccups and confusion as several states are facing a shortage of vaccines – and everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible for the vaccine.
As of Friday morning, almost 20.57 crore doses have been administered. According to the health ministry, 8,31,500 beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group received the first dose of Covid vaccine on Wednesday and cumulatively 1,38,62,428 people across 37 states and union territories have received it since the start of Phase-3 of the vaccination drive on May 1.
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