India crosses 30 million Covid-19 cases amid concerns over new variant

New Delhi, Jun 23 (EFE).- India reported Wednesday having crossed 30 million coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, while concerns have emerged about the emergence of a new variant of the virus.

The Asian country recorded 50,848 fresh Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, pushing the total number of cases past 30 million, according to health ministry data.

India is the second most affected country in the world by caseload, behind only the United States, which has 33.5 million total infections, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Asian country also surpassed the 390,000 deaths barrier since the start of the pandemic, after recording 1,358 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Despite these figures, infections are down in the country, with the lowest number of cases in several weeks.

India witnessed a virulent second wave of the coronavirus that peaked in mid-May with more than 400,000 daily cases, causing a healthcare system collapse with shortage of medical oxygen and beds and crowded crematoriums.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus originally identified in India, and which according to the World Health Organization has already entered 92 countries, is seen as one of the factors that contributed to the dramatic increase in cases in India.

The government reported on Wednesday some 40 cases of a new variant of the coronavirus, known as Delta Plus, which is more contagious, giving rise fears of a devastating third wave that experts claim is inevitable.

The Delta Plus variant is a mutated version of the B.1.617.2 strain, known as the Delta variant, which caused the second wave of infections in the country.

India on Tuesday administered 5.4 million shots of the vaccine under its campaign dubbed by the authorities as the world’s largest vaccination drive.

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