India adds fewer than 200,000 coronavirus cases for first time in 6 weeks

New Delhi, May 25 (EFE).- India on Tuesday added fewer than 200,000 Covid-19 infections, its lowest daily in 41 days, while the virus claimed 3,500 more lives in the country struggling with vaccine shortages.

The federal health ministry said a total of 196,427 patients tested positive for the coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours from Monday morning.

The health ministry data showed the overall caseload in the country is just shy of 27 million, while the total fatalities have increased to 307,231.

The country clocked the previous lowest daily number of infections during the devastating second wave on Apr.14 with 184,372 new cases.

The declining number of daily coronavirus infections indicates that the peak of the second wave might be already over.

The country recorded the global highest daily infections of 414,000 on May 6 and logged more than 400,000 cases five days in a row from May 5 before the numbers started ebbing.

However, experts cast doubt on the official data because the virus outbreak has hit the rural areas, which house nearly 70 percent of the 1.35 billion population, and lack the testing and healthcare infrastructure.

Thekkekara Jacob John, a known virologist, infectious disease expert, told EFE that the figures were “definitely under reported (and) unreported because the system does not find all cases.”

He said the culture was such that nobody in India likes to be shamed.

“We should save our face. We should save honor, we should not be shamed.”

Asked about the difference between the declining daily number of infections and fatalities that continue to be on the higher side, the virologist said it was normal.

“It is always like that in every country, that the number peak happens two or three weeks after the cases are diagnosed. So there will be a gap between number and deaths,” said the former director of the Indian Council of Medical Research.

India’s vaccination drive, the world’s largest, has also hit a roadblock due to an acute shortage of jabs.

Nearly 200 million people have received at least the first doses of locally manufactured Covishield and Covaxin and the Russian Sputnik V vaccines.

India has fully vaccinated less than 4 percent of its population.

The country had aimed to immunize 300 million people by July, which seems highly impossible given the current inoculation pace as several states have reported severe problems with the vaccination campaign due to the lack of doses. EFE


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