Coronavirus: India reports under 1 lakh cases after 63 days
India on Tuesday reported under one lakh COVID-19 cases for the first time in 63 days. Over 60% of the new cases are concentrated in the five worst-hit states. The decline in infections comes as the government updated its vaccination policy after facing criticism for over a month. The Centre will now cover the vaccination cost for all adults. Here are more details.
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Tuesday morning, India reported a total of 2,89,96,473 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 3,51,309. So far, 2,73,41,462 patients have recovered, while 13,03,702 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 86,498 new infections, 1,82,282 more discharges, and 2,123 fresh fatalities. 23,61,98,726 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Maharashtra reported 10,219 new COVID-19 cases along with 21,081 more recoveries. Karnataka, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 11,958 new cases and 27,299 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Kerala added 9,313 new cases and 21,921 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 19,448 new cases and 31,360 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 4,872 new cases and 13,702 recoveries.
After facing criticism for the vaccination policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the Centre will provide free vaccines to all adults (18+ years). Previously, only the vaccination cost for those aged over 45 years was covered. The Centre will also procure 75% of all doses and provide them to states for free. The rest will be available to private hospitals.
Meanwhile, the second dose of Covishield will be allowed under 84 days after the first dose if: the vaccine recipient is to undertake international travel for studies, work, or is part of the Indian contingent to the Tokyo Olympics. The dose gap, however, must be over 28 days. The Centre had widened the dose gap for Covishield to 12-16 weeks last month.
The Centre also revised COVID-19 treatment guidelines on Monday, dropping drugs such as Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), and Favipiravir from the list of advised treatments. Remdesivir has been limited for use only on the prescription of a "senior doctor." The four treatment methods for severe cases include oxygen, steroids, Tocilizumab (based on certain blood parameters), and anti-coagulants (patients with certain co-morbidities, such as diabetes).
Separately, the Uttar Pradesh government's Health Department has launched a probe into the alleged deaths of 22 patients who died at an Agra hospital during what now appears to have been a "mock drill," where their oxygen supply was cut off on purpose.