New Delhi, Apr 3 (efe-epa).- India registered 89,129 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest daily caseload since September -when the number of daily infections had surged to nearly 100,000 during the pandemic’s peak – authorities said on Saturday.
The surge took India’s total cases to over 12.3 million, as the South Asian nation continues to be the third most affected by the pandemic behind the United States and Brazil.
As many as 714 Covid deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 164,110.
The fresh surge in cases is mainly concentrated in eight of the 36 Indian states and territories that account for 81 percent of the total cases, with Maharashtra leading the list with over 50 percent of nationwide cases on Saturday (47,913).
The second wave of the pandemic appeared after relaxation of bio-security protocols, the start of an electoral season, festivals and the discovery of a new virus strain in the country.
The surge, which has continued since February when the daily cases had dropped below 10,000 amid weeks of optimism, has led to Indian authorities speeding up the vaccination campaign as the only apparent solution to the health crisis.
On Apr. 1, authorities kicked off a new phase of the drive, in which people between the age of 45 and 60 were allowed to get vaccinated, leading to the number of daily immunizations crossing 3 million subsequently.
After 77 days of the vaccination campaign, over 73 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country.
“In a significant development in the fight against COVID-19, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 73 million today,” the Indian health ministry said in a statement on Saturday, adding that nearly 10 million people have received the required two doses of the vaccines.
India, known as the “world’s pharmacy” for its capacity to produce low-cost medicines at a massive scale, is one of the few self-sufficient countries regarding anti-Covid vaccines, producing all the vaccines doses currently being used in the nationwide drive.
The Serum Institute of India, one of the largest manufacturers of AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine, and the producer of India’s indigenous Covaxin – local lab Bharat Biotech – have put aside a large part of their production for the domestic demand in the country of 1.35 billion people. EFE-EPA