India’s vaccination drive crosses 50-mn milestone but covid surge continues

New Delhi, Mar 24 (efe-epa).- India has administered 50 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, crossing a key milestone in its immunization drive that began mid-January, authorities said Wednesday, as new coronavirus cases keep surging, unleashing a second wave of infections.

A federal health ministry spokesperson, in a statement, said that 50.8 million vaccine doses were administered through more than 823,000 sessions.

These include over 8.1 million second doses given to healthcare and frontline workers.

“India has crossed a significant milestone in the fight against the global pandemic. The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed five crore (50 million),” the spokesperson said.

The ambitious vaccination drive tipped to be the world’s largest aims to inoculate 300 million people in two phases.

The first phase of 30 million doses started with healthcare workers on Jan.16 followed by frontline workers two weeks later.

The second-phase targeted above 60 and also 45 above with comorbidities covering 270 million people.

The third-phase will open for people above 45 from Apr.1. in the past few weeks.

However, amid the vaccination drive marred by public skepticism and apathy, the country is battling its second Covid-19 wave.

A few weeks ago, the virus was seemingly retreating from the second-most populous country.

But infections have been rising nearly to more than 45,000 daily from fewer than 10,000 in February.

The health authorities recorded 47,262 fresh positive cases in the last 24 hours from Tuesday, taking the cumulative caseload in India to 11.73 million, said the Union health ministry on Wednesday.

It is the biggest spike in daily cases in nearly 19 weeks after the third worst-hit nation by the coronavirus had recorded over 47,000 cases in early November.

Fatalities due to the virus have also shot up in recent weeks. Some 275 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, from a low of 76 on Mar.8

The overall death toll due to the disease in the country has reached 160,441.

The health spokesperson said India’s total active caseload reached 368,457 on Wednesday, comprising 3.14 percent of the total positive cases.

The new outbreak of the virus is centered on the western Maharashtra state, whose capital is Mumbai, the financial and entertainment hub of India.

The state, observing a limited lockdown to contain the spread, clocked in 28,699 new infections and 132 deaths.

Punjab in the north followed with 53 daily deaths and Chhattisgarh in the center reported 20 deaths in the last 24 hours. EFE-EPA


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