India on Thursday reported 12,885 new cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the overall tally of infections to 3,43,21,025 since the pandemic began in January last year. The number of new cases was marginally higher than Wednesday’s count of 11,903.

The toll rose by 461 to 4,59,652.

As many as 3,37,12,794 people have recovered from the infection so far. The active caseload has dropped below 1.50 lakh.

On Wednesday, the Centre asked the governments of Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to check rising the number of infections and increase testing, PTI reported. During festivals, Additional Secretary of the Union Health Ministry Arti Ahuja stressed that it was necessary to follow protocols.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization granted approval for Indian drugmaker Bharat Biotech’s vaccine for emergency use listing, paving the way for it to be accepted as a valid vaccine in other countries.

Covaxin significantly outweighed the risks and had met the World Health Organization’s standards for protection against the disease, the global health body said in a tweet.

The World Health Organization took seven months to approve the indigenous vaccine for emergency use listing. After the decision, the health body’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan told NDTV that Covaxin did not take the longest to get approval from them.

“Covaxin is somewhere in the middle, it took somewhere between 90 and 100 days,” Swaminathan said.

Global updates

  • Germany Health Minister Jens Spahn on Wednesday said that the country was facing a “massive” pandemic of the unvaccinated, AFP reported. A significant number of people in 18 to 59 age group remain unvaccinated. In recent week, Germany has been battling a fourth wave of coronavirus cases. “In some regions in Germany intensive care beds are running out again,” the health minister said.
  • Locally transmitted cases in China rose to a near three-month high on Wednesday, Reuters reported. This came ahead of a gathering of the members of the Communist Party next week. Authorities in Beijing have repeatedly asked residents to refrain from moving out of the city and avoid all non-essential meetings.
  • The coronavirus has infected over 24.74 crore people across the world and caused more than 50 lakh deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.