India on Friday reported 12,408 new coronavirus cases, taking the total count to 1,08,02,591, the health ministry data showed. Deaths rose by 120 to 1,54,823.

As many as 1,04,96,308 people have recovered from the infection so far. The active coronavirus cases declined further to 1,51,460.

The country has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the United States, but the infection rate has slowed significantly since September.

India, which started its vaccination programme on January 16, has inoculated more than 49 lakh healthcare workers against the coronavirus. The second dose of the vaccine will be administered to healthcare workers from February 13.

A total of 19,99,31,795 samples have tested for the infection up to Thursday, the Indian Council of Medical Research said. Of these, 7,15,776 were tested on Thursday.

According to a government’s serological survey, 21.5% of the country’s population has been exposed to the coronavirus. “The message is that a large proportion of the population remains vulnerable,” ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said at a press conference. “Vaccines are necessary and there can be no complacency with regards to masks, social distancing and hand hygiene.”

Earlier this week, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had announced that fifth serological survey in the city has shown that 56.13% of the residents have developed antibodies against the coronavirus. The findings indicate that Delhi is approaching herd immunity through natural infection.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 10.4 crore people and killed over 22 lakh, according to John Hopkins University. Over 5.63 crore people have recovered from the infection in the world.

Coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 4,50,000 on Thursday, despite decrease in new infections and the arrival of multiple vaccines, AP reported. The country reported 3,912 deaths on Wednesday, down from the peak of 4,466 deaths on January 12.