78% decline in daily COVID-19 cases over past month: Government
India has observed an almost 78% decline in daily COVID-19 cases over the past month, the government sought to highlight on Friday. India reported over 91,000 new cases on Friday, when a month ago, India had reported a record 4.14 lakh new COVID-19 cases. The daily positivity rate stood at 4.49%, while daily recoveries continued to outnumber daily infections for the 29th consecutive day.
India's tally reaches 2.92 crore; over 3.63 lakh dead
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Friday morning, India reported a total of 2,92,74,823 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 3,63,079. So far, 2,77,90,073 patients have recovered, while 11,21,671 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 91,702 new infections, 1,34,580 more discharges, and 3,403 fresh fatalities. 24,60,85,649 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
68% new cases concentrated in 5 states
Maharashtra reported 12,207 new COVID-19 cases along with 11,449 more recoveries. Karnataka, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 11,042 new cases and 15,721 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Kerala added 14,424 new cases and 17,994 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 16,813 new cases and 32,049 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 8,110 new cases and 12,981 recoveries.
US FDA rejects emergency approval grant to COVAXIN
Separately, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected Emergency-Use Authorization (EUA) to Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine COVAXIN. The FDA sought additional data for the vaccine and recommended Ocugen Inc to then go for a Biologics Licence Application (BLA). Ocugen is the US partner of Bharat Biotech. The BLA is a "full approval" mechanism by the FDA for drugs and vaccines.
FDA's move does not impact COVAXIN approval in India: Government
Addressing the FDA's refusal to grant emergency approval to COVAXIN, NITI Aayog member Dr. VK Paul said that while the move should be respected, it does not impact the vaccine's approval in India. The regulatory system may vary from country to country, he said. The vaccine's Phase III trial data will be published in seven to eight days, he added.
Centre's push to expedite second dose coverage in priority groups
On Thursday, the central government had asked states/union territories to expedite second dose coverage for priority groups, such as healthcare and frontline workers. According to the Health Ministry, 82% of healthcare workers have received the first dose, while 56% of them have received the second dose. The Centre said that this degree of coverage was a "serious concern."
Incomplete vaccinations may lead to new mutants: Experts
The mass, indiscriminate and incomplete vaccination may lead to the emergence of mutant coronavirus strains, a group of health experts warned in their latest report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They said there is no need to inoculate those who had documented coronavirus infections.
Government rubbishes reports of Co-WIN data breach
The Health Ministry on Thursday dismissed as "incorrect" and "baseless" reports of a data breach on the vaccination database Co-WIN. A hackers' group had reportedly accessed the database of about 150 million Co-WIN users and it was put up for sale. The government ensured the data was secure, adding some data claimed to have been leaked—such as geo-location of beneficiaries—was never collected on Co-WIN.