Coronavirus: India reports over 42K fresh cases, 1,200+ deaths
India on Saturday added 42,766 new coronavirus cases, recorded over the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 3,07,95,716. The country also witnessed 1,206 more fatalities - significantly up from 911 deaths reported on Friday. India's death toll has now crossed 4,07,000. Even though the situation has improved since the devastating second wave's peak, experts warn a third wave could hit soon.
India's daily positivity rate stands at 2.19% - less than 3% for 19 consecutive days and under 5% for 33 straight days. The recovery rate is 97.20%. Positivity rate refers to the number of positive cases per 100 samples tested.
More than half of all new infections are concentrated in just two states - Kerala and Maharashtra. Kerala logged as many as 13,563 fresh COVID-19 cases, followed by Maharashtra (8,992), Tamil Nadu (3,039), and Karnataka (2,290). In fact, 80% of all new COVID-19 cases were reported from 90 districts in 15 states and union territories, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.
Separately, Uttar Pradesh has reported two cases of the Kappa variant of coronavirus. Meanwhile, 90% of the samples that were sent for genome sequencing from Tripura tested positive for the new and highly-transmissible Delta Plus variant. The state now has 138 cases of the strain. COVID-19 variants are said to be more infectious and may partially evade immunity generated from prior infection or vaccination.
Since beginning its coronavirus vaccination drive in January, India has administered more than 38 crore doses. Even though 22% of Indians have received at least one vaccine shot, just above 5% have been fully inoculated as yet. The central government today said more than 1.73 crore vaccine doses are currently available with states, union territories, and private hospitals across India.
Dr. VK Paul, the chief of India's COVID-19 task force, has warned that the second wave of the pandemic is not over yet, urging people to follow the protocols. He said the slow rate of decline in daily cases is a cause for concern. The government has also flagged the blatant violation of COVID-19 protocols at tourist spots like Manali and Mussoorie.
The Haryana government has decided to resume offline classes in government and private schools, starting July 16. Separately, Punjab has lifted weekend and night curfew and ordered reopening of bars, cinema halls, restaurants, gyms, and malls, provided the staff members and visitors have taken at least one vaccine shot. The lockdown in Tamil Nadu has been extended for another week, with some relaxations.