India on Monday registered 15,510 coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,11,12,241. The new cases were 7.4% lower than Sunday’s count. The country’s toll rose to 1,57,157 after 106 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

India’s count of active cases stood at 1,68,627, while the number of recoveries reached 1,07,86,457. So far, more than 1.43 crore health and frontline workers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Several states are witnessing a worrying surge in coronavirus cases. Maharashtra registered 8,293 new cases on Sunday. It was the fifth consecutive day that the state reported more than 8,000 infections. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that he did not want to impose another lockdown, but may be compelled to do so because of the worsening situation, ANI reported.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu extended its coronavirus-related restrictions till the end of March, ANI reported. Offices and commercial establishments will operate with staggered timings, according to NDTV. The authorities have been ordered to take action against those who violate safety protocols.

Second phase of vaccination begins

India’s second phase of vaccination, covering people above the age of 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities, began on Monday. Visuals from Mumbai showed people waiting for their turn at a vaccination centre.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. He was administered Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, according to ANI.

On the other hand, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said he did not need the vaccine. “Today vaccination is beginning for the people,” Vij tweeted. “People should get vaccinated without any hesitation. I won’t get the vaccine because after coronavirus infection, my antibody count is 300, which is high. The trial vaccine I took may have had a role in that.”

Vij had received a trial dose of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in November. He tested positive for the coronavirus days later. This caused a controversy, leading Bharat Biotech to clarify that Vij’s second dose was pending.

Around 10,000 private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat, more than 600 hospitals under the Central Government Health Scheme, and other private hospitals enrolled under state schemes can administer the vaccine. Private hospitals are allowed to charge Rs 250 for each dose of the vaccine, while inoculation at government vaccination sites will be free.

Global updates

  1. Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 11.4 crore people and killed over 25 lakh, according to John Hopkins University. Over 6.43 crore people have recovered from the infection in the world.
  2. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country will begin easing coronavirus restrictions after a “dramatic decline” in coronavirus cases, AFP reported.
  3. Top United States infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said children in the country could get vaccinated by early 2022, CNBC reported. Meanwhile, US officials said they expected the delivery of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine to begin on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
  4. Philippines began its inoculation drive on Monday, Reuters reported. Health workers in six government hospitals of Manila received vaccines donated by China.