COVID-19 cases in India continue to rise at an alarming speed, with the country recording 62,258 new cases in the last 24 hours. This is the highest single day case tally of 2021, and going by reports, the highest since October 2020. At the same time, Health Ministry data says that there were 30,386 recoveries, and 291 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Maharashtra remains the worst affected state, with over 2.82 lakh active cases. COVID-19 cases across the western state have surged by 20.32% in the last 25 days and its caseload continues to set new records. On Friday, Maharashtra reported the highest single-day cases for the second day in a row. The state reported 36,902 new infections on Friday evening. Going by the total number of active cases, Maharashtra is followed by Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
In response to the rising case tally, several states have taken restrictive measures, even as they stopped short of imposing a fresh lockdown. While several districts in Maharashtra have enforced short lockdowns, the state as a whole will now have a night curfew. Staring from Sunday, shopping malls will be closed from 8 pm to 7 am.
Vaccination efforts continue to gain strength, and as of Saturday morning, Health Ministry data indicates that a total of 5,81,09,773 does have been administered. The inoculation drive is also set to be expanded from April 1, with all individuals over 45 years of age becoming eligible.
India has supplied more COVID-19 vaccines globally than vaccinated its own people, the country told the UN General Assembly on Friday. "While the vaccine challenge has been resolved, we are now confronted with ensuring the availability, accessibility, affordability, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Lack of global cooperation and disparity in the accessibility of vaccines will affect the poorest nations the most," said India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador K. Nagaraj Naidu.
He told the General Assembly that India will not only be vaccinating 300 million of its own frontline workers over the next six months but in the process has also supplied vaccines to over 70 nations. "In fact, as of today we have supplied more vaccines globally than have vaccinated our own people," Naidu said.
(With inputs from agencies)