Setting another grim record, India on Thursday registered 3,79,257 new coronavirus cases that pushed the total number of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 1,83,76,524. This is the highest ever single-day rise in cases reported by any country so far, and the eighth consecutive day when India has recorded more than 3 lakh cases.
India also reported a record increase in deaths in a day, logging 3,645 fatalities. With this, the toll climbed to 2,04,832. The number of active cases stood at 30,84,814. So far, 1,50,86,878 people have recovered from the infection.
As many as 15,00,20,648 coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered. Of this, 21,93,281 shots were given on Wednesday.
India on Wednesday opened registrations for the third phase of the coronavirus immunisation programme, which covers all above 18 years scheduled to begin from May 1. Nearly 1.33 crore residents registered.
However, minutes after the registration opened, the government’s CoWin portal and the Aarogya Setu app crashed for users across the country. Many complained that the site was not responsive, while others said they were not receiving a one-time password to finish the verification process. Some residents said that despite completing the registration, they were unable to book a slot for vaccination.
Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla said that the price of Covishield, a coronavirus vaccine, for state governments was reduced from Rs 400 to Rs 300 per dose with immediate effect.
As part of the immunisation programme, the health ministry had said on April 19 that vaccine manufacturers will now have to allot 50% of the doses produced to the Centre. The manufacturers will be allowed to sell the remaining 50% to state governments and private organisations in the open market.
The Serum Institute had earlier announced that the Covishield vaccine will be sold to states at Rs 400 per shot and at Rs 600 per dose to private hospitals. Bharat Biotech set the price of its Covaxin shot at Rs 600 per jab for state governments and Rs 1,200 for private hospitals. But both vaccines will be priced at Rs 150 per dose for the central government.
Even though states are being charged more than the Centre, many of them have announced free vaccinations for those above 18. The states have, however, also flagged concerns regarding pricing and shortage of the inoculation shots.
At the same time, the country’s healthcare infrastructure is reeling under the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic as lakhs of new coronavirus cases emerge every day. This has led to an acute shortage of oxygen, beds and timely medical care across several states.
Social media is awash with desperate calls for ambulances, intensive care unit beds and medicines. Many hospitals have also taken to Twitter or going to court to plead with the government to replenish their oxygen supplies and warning that they will need to stop admissions of new patients.