India records lowest coronavirus daily death toll in 8 months

Srinagar, India, Jan 18 (efe-epa).- India on Monday reported less than 150 Covid-19 deaths, the lowest daily toll in nearly eight months, taking the total number of such fatalities to more than 152,400 in the world’s second worst-affected country by the virus.

According to data from the federal health ministry, with 145 new fatalities, the overall coronavirus death tally has now reached 152,419 in the country with a total caseload of nearly 10.6 million Covid-19 infections.

It is the lowest toll recorded in a day since May 26, when 146 people lost their lives due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the health ministry.

The ministry further said the authorities registered 13,788 new cases in the last 24 hours from Sunday morning.

It is the second time the infections have fallen below 14,000 this month.

India has been recording a sharp decline in daily cases, which dropped below 15,000 in the last week against the nearly 100,000 infections per day during the peak in September.

The country began inoculating health workers from Saturday, kickstarting the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination campaign.

The government plans to offer vaccine shots to 300 million people, nearly a quarter of India’s population and roughly the population of the United States.

The first group of recipients is expected to be covered by July 2021.

The vaccine hosts include 30 million doctors, nurses, and other front-line workers.

The next phase will include 270 million people who are either over 50 or are more vulnerable to the disease due to illnesses.

The government has not specified what percentage of India’s nearly 1.35 billion people will be targeted by the campaign.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who launched the campaign, said it was “the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability.”

The vaccines used in the campaign include Covishield, jointly developed by Oxford University, and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

The second vaccine used for the inoculation is Covaxin, developed by the Indian laboratory Bharat Biotech and the Indian Medical Research Council.

The government has so far purchased nearly 17 million doses: 10.5 million of Covishield – manufactured in the country by the Serum Institute of India – and 6.6 million Covaxin.

Both obtained permission from the Drug Controller General of India for “emergency use” two weeks ago, even though Covaxin is still in the trial phase and the final data on its effectiveness has not yet been released. EFE-EPA


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