Record daily Covid deaths in India as infection rates continue to surge

By David Asta Alares

New Delhi, Apr 20 (EFE).- For the sixth day in a row India recorded more than 200,000 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours as well as a record death toll just as the residents of the capital New Delhi enter a week-long lockdown in a bid to prevent the total collapse of the health system.

The Asian nation, in the grips of a strong second wave of infections, reported 1,761 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 180,530, according to the health ministry.

Health authorities also logged 259,170 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 15.3 million.

Although this represented a small decrease from Monday’s record of 273,000 cases, it was the sixth consecutive day that infection numbers remained above 200,000.

India has reported the second-highest number of cases in the world, behind only the United States, which has logged some 32 million.

According to the Indian health ministry, 20 of the country’s 36 states and territories are witnessing an ascending trend of Covid-19 cases, although some 77.6% of cases of daily infections are concentrated in just 10 states, which include the western state of Maharashtra (58,924 daily infections), the northern state of Uttar Pradesh (28,211) and New Delhi (23,686).

India is banking on a rapid vaccination campaign to get a handle on the pandemic in the country and on Monday announced it would extend the rollout to everyone over 18 next month. All people under 45 will be able to get the vaccine at private centers, while older groups and risk categories will still be eligible to get a free vaccine at a government center.

Some 127 million vaccines have been administered since the beginning of the campaign in January, with 3.2 million of those administered in the last 24 hours.

The 20 million residents of the capital on Tuesday began the first day of a week-long lockdown as authorities act to protect the struggling health service.

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