India on Sunday recorded 3,92,488 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall infection count in the country to 1,95,57,457 since the pandemic first broke out in January last year. The daily surge in cases is slightly lower than that of Saturday’s when India reported over 4 lakh cases for the first time.
The toll climbed by 3,689 to 2,15,542. There are now 33,49,644 active cases and 1,59,92,271 patients have recovered from the infection.
India has so far administered 15,68,16,031 coronavirus vaccine doses, giving 18,26,219 shots on Saturday alone.
On Saturday, India began its third phase of inoculation in which citizens above 18 years of age are being covered. As many as 84,599 beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group were given the first shot of the vaccine on the first day, according to the health ministry.
The figure is, however, quite low as compared to the overall 18 lakh vaccines administered on Saturday. This is due to a vaccine shortage that has led to almost all states postponing the inoculation programme for the 18-44 age group. In the few states where the third phase started, it was limited to sporadic centres in a few districts.
Amid the shortage, Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla said that he flew to London late last week before the United Kingdom banned travellers from India, allegedly because he was being threatened. “They are saying if you don’t give us the vaccine it’s not going to be good,” Poonawalla said. “It’s not foul language. It’s the tone. It’s the implication of what they might do if I don’t comply. It’s taking control. It’s coming over and basically surrounding the place [Serum Institute campus in Pune] and not letting us do anything unless we give in to their demands.”
Besides vaccines, the country is also facing a shortage of oxygen supplies and vital medicines. In Delhi, 12 patients, including a senior doctor, died at the Batra Hospital after the private facility ran out of oxygen supply.
Meanwhile, India received the first batch of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines from Russia. The Customs in Hyderabad expedited clearance of the consignment.