The daily new coronavirus cases in India remained below 30,000 for the 19th consecutive day taking the COVID-19 caseload to 1,02,86,710, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Friday.
A total of 20,036 new infections were reported in a day, while the death toll increased to 1,48,994 with 256 new fatalities, the Health Ministry data showed. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 98,83,461 pushing the national recovery rate to 96.08 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45 per cent.
The COVID-19 active caseload remained below 3 lakh for the 11th consecutive day. There are 2,54,254 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 2.47 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.
Maharashtra, one of the worst-affected states, reported 3,509 new cases and 58 deaths in the last 24 hours. So far, 18,28,546 people have recovered, while the death toll stands at 49,521, the state health department informed.
According to the ICMR, 17,31,11,694 samples have been tested up to December 31 with 10,62,420 samples being tested on Thursday.
The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities. "Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.
Meanwhile, Drug Controller General of India V G Somani hinted on Thursday that India is likely to have a COVID-19 vaccine in the New Year.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the Department of Biotechnology, Somani said the most important thing is that the industry and research organisations have stood the test of time.
An expert panel in the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) will meet on Friday, the first day of the year, to further deliberate on the matter to consider emergency use authorisation applications by Serum Institute of India (SII) for the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine and Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin'.
The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 on Wednesday deliberated and analysed the additional data and information submitted by the SII and Bharat Biotech. The SII, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer have applied to the DCGI seeking emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates and are awaiting approval.
Here's state-wise data of active cases and deaths released by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: