India records lowest daily Covid cases in three weeks

New Delhi, May 15 (EFE).- India on Saturday registered 326,098 fresh coronavirus infections, the lowest daily caseload since Apr. 26, despite concerns over the virus spreading in rural areas with poor healthcare facilities as part of the devastating second wave of the pandemic.

In recent weeks, a massive surge in the pandemic had resulted in a shortage of oxygen, medicine and hospital beds for Covid patients.

The total number of cases registered in the country has crossed 24.3 million, according to data released by the Indian health ministry.

The caseload on Saturday dropped from record daily highs of over 400,000 – registered until a week ago – to reach the lowest figure since Apr. 26, when 319,435 infections were reported.

India also recorded 3,890 deaths due to the disease in the past 24 hours, after three consecutive days of over 4,000 Covid deaths being reported daily.

Authorities in capital New Delhi, where the number of daily infections dropped below 10,000 for the first time since Apr. 10, have said the situation had improved slightly after a month of a massive spike in cases, which led to a collapse of the health infrastructure.

However, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has warned citizens against complacency.

“If we become careless again and stop following social distancing norms and guidelines, cases can increase again (…) We have seen very tough times in the past month,” he said on Friday.

Although the improved figures offer a ray of hope, only around 1.6 million Covid tests were carried out within the past 24 hours and the Indian government has warned of the virus spreading rapidly in rural areas, where infections and deaths could increase without getting registered by the authorities.

The vaccination campaign launched in January – being touted as the only solution to the crisis – has been hit by a number of provinces complaining of shortages in the supply of doses, and the inoculation rate remains below the target.

India administered around 1.1 million doses of the vaccine in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of administered doses to 180 million.

However, just around 2 percent of the country’s over 1.35 billion population has received both the necessary doses of the two vaccines in use: Covishield (produced by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the Serum Institute of India), and Covaxin (produced by Indian lab Bharat Biotech).

Imported Russian vaccine Sputnik will also be available to Indians in a few days. EFE


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