New Delhi, Dec 19 (efe-epa).- India on Saturday crossed the grim milestones of 10 million coronavirus cases and 145,000 deaths even as the number of fresh cases has slowed down in recent days and authorities are gearing up for a massive vaccination drive.
According to latest data by the Indian health ministry, 25,152 new infections were reported within the last 24 hours, taking the total number of coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 10,004,599, as India continues to be the second worst affected country in terms of cases behind the United States.
Authorities also reported 347 deaths linked to the disease since Friday, taking the total death toll to 145,136.
The numbers have gradually declined since September, when India registered record daily tallies of around 100,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths.
The South Asian country has also achieved a 97 percent recovery rate for the disease, with daily hospital discharges widely outnumbering fresh infections.
As of Thursday, only around 300,000 of the infections remained active, with a relatively low mortality rate of 1.5 percent, which has been maintained even during the pandemic’s peak.
The decline in cases comes amid the fifth phase of easing of lockdown measures by the government, a process that began in June and has resulted in the reopening of nearly all economic activity including cafes and cinema halls and resumption of public transport as well as most of the recreational and sports activities.
The authorities are also preparing a mass vaccination drive for a population of over 1.3 billion, set to kick off as soon as the regulators grant emergency use licenses to at least one of the vaccine candidates.
Manufacturers of least three such prototypes have sought permission from regulators for emergency use of their vaccines.
In the first phase, India aims to vaccinate around 300 million people consisting of health and frontline workers, people above the age of 60 or those older than 50 and carrying chronic ailments. EFE-EPA