India’s daily Covid cases drop below 40,000 after 3 months

New Delhi, Jun 29 (EFE).- India on Tuesday registered less than 40,000 fresh cases of the coronavirus for the first time in more than three months, as the country is recovering from the worst outbreak of the pandemic worldwide, as over 400,000 daily cases were recorded at its peak in May.

In the last 24 hours, India registered 37,566 new cases, the lowest in 102 days, while the total number of infections since the beginning of the pandemic has touched 30.3 million, according to data provided by the health ministry.

The daily death toll has also dropped continuously and stood at 907 on Tuesday, the lowest figure in 77 days, while a total of 397,637 people have died of the disease so far.

India has witnessed a steady and rapid decline in infections since the virulent second wave peaked in May, resulting in a collapse of the health system, with patients struggling to get beds and oxygen and crematoriums filled beyond capacities.

Capital New Delhi, one of the worst affected regions during the second wave, on Tuesday reported just 59 new cases and 2 deaths.

The delta variant of the virus, first identified in India and now present in over 180 countries according to the WHO, has been seen as one of the main factors behind the massive surge in cases, due to its high transmissibility.

In a report published on Monday, Indian authorities explained that the Delta variant of the virus had 15-17 mutations and had been first identified in October 2020, four months before the second wave of the pandemic began.

In February, over 60 percent of the Covid cases in the western state of Maharashtra, the biggest epicenter of the disease in India, were linked to the Delta variant.

According to the India SARS-COV2-Genomic Consortia (INSACOG), the delta variant (B.1.617) has three sub-types, out of which two of have been classified as “variants of interest” while the third one, B.1.617.2, now dubbed Delta Plus, has been designated a “variant of concern.”

Delta Plus, which has an additional mutation called K417N, has been marked for its high transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, potential reduction in antibody response and the possibility of post-vaccination immune escape, the ministry said.

The INSACOG said that although the B.1.1.7 strain, known as the British strain, had dominated infections for many months, in recent data, around 90 percent of the analyzed samples in India had the Delta variant.

The government has insisted that the two vaccines being used in the country, produced by AstraZeneca and local lab Bharat Biotech, were effective against the four major variants: Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.

“Lab tests to check vaccine effectiveness on Delta Plus Variant are ongoing,” it said. EFE


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