India on Monday recorded 2,81,386 new coronavirus cases, taking the total count of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 2,49,65,463. This is the first time since April 21 that the daily cases dropped below 3 lakh.

The country’s toll rose to 2,74,390 as it recorded 4,106 deaths in the last day. India’s count of active cases stood at 35,16,997, while the number of recoveries reached 2,11,74,076. The active cases declined by more than one lakh since Sunday.

Credit: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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India’s weekly coronavirus positivity rate reduced to 18.17%, according to the health ministry. The country also reported more daily recoveries than new cases for four consecutive days.

Ten states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, accounted for over 75% of the active cases in the country, the government added.

World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan warned that the pandemic was likely to have more waves, The Hindu reported. She added efforts made in the next six to 18 months will be the most crucial in fighting the pandemic.

“We know that there will be definitely an end to the acute phase of the pandemic when we have vaccinated about 30% of the world’s population, which is what we would like to see by the end of 2021,” Swaminathan added, according to the newspaper. “Then we can start seeing a significant reduction in the deaths. Then 2022 can be about ramping up vaccination.”

India has been battling a ferocious second wave of the coronavirus, with hospitals across the country struggling with acute shortages of oxygen, beds and medicines. The Centre’s response to the pandemic has drawn heavy criticism from the Opposition.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday again hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the coronavirus situation in India. “There’s a lot common between PM Cares ventilator and the PM himself,” he tweeted. “Too much false PR [public relations], don’t do their respective jobs, nowhere in sight when needed!”

India has administered more than 18.29 crore vaccine doses since the beginning of its inoculation drive in January, the government said. However, several states are facing shortages of vaccines as manufacturers have not been able to meet supply requirements.

At least eight of them have decided to float global tenders for procuring the doses as they struggle to inoculate those in the age group of 18-44, who became eligible for the shots in third phase of vaccination that rolled out on May 1.

On Saturday, Dr NK Arora, the chairperson of the Centre’s Covid Working Group said that the rollout of coronavirus vaccines for the 18-44 age group should have been deferred.

Global updates

  1. Globally, the coronavirus has now infected 16.27 crore people and killed over 33.74 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  2. French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi and British firm GlaxoSmithKline’s announced that their potential coronavirus vaccine showed strong immune responses in all adult age groups in phase two trials.
  3. Singapore will close schools from Wednesday as authorities warned that new coronavirus strains, like the one first detected in India, were affecting more children in the city-state, AFP reported.
  4. Long working hours are killing hundreds of thousands of people in a year and this trend may quicken because of the coronavirus crisis, the World Health Organization said. The study, published in the journal Environment International, showed that 7,45,000 people died from ischemic heart disease and stroke linked to long working hours (55 hours or more per week) in 2016.
  5. Dubai on Monday relaxed Covid-related restrictions, Reuters reported. It allowed hotels to work at full capacity and also gave approval for concerts and sporting events where the participants and attendees are vaccinated.