India’s toll from the coronavirus disease crossed the 3-lakh mark on Monday after the country reported 4,454 deaths in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed. This makes India the third country after the United States and Brazil to record more than 3 lakh fatalities since the pandemic broke out in December 2019.

The daily infections rose by 2,22,315 to 2,67,52,447, while the toll stood at 3,03,720. This was the lowest rise in cases since April 16, when India recorded 2,17,353 new infections.

The active caseload dropped to 27,20,716, comprising 10.17% of the total infections. According to the data, the recovery rate has improved to 88.69% and the case fatality rate has increased to 1.14%.

More than 19,50,04,184 vaccines doses have been administered to the beneficiaries so far, the government said.

Virologist Gagandeep Kang on Sunday said that India delayed the process of buying coronavirus vaccines in the bulk and is now left with few options to choose from in the international market. “Aren’t we a little late to the table on this one?” Kang told NDTV, when asked if India should buy vaccines aggressively. “The rest of the world has been buying vaccines at risk for a year, so what’s the supply that is available in the market for us to go now and say we want to buy vaccines?”

Meanwhile, the Punjab government said that United States pharmaceutical firm Moderna has refused to supply coronavirus vaccine directly to the state, citing its official policy that the company can only deal with the Centre. State Nodal Officer for Vaccination, Vikas Garg, said that the Amarinder Singh government is exploring possibilities of floating a global tender to purchase vaccines from all possible sources, including from Johnson & Johnson.

Some other states, including Delhi and Maharashtra, have also said that they have insufficient supplies to inoculate those aged between 18 and 45.

Facing intense criticism of its handling of the second wave of the pandemic, Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda has written to party workers across the country to make themselves more visible in their activities to tackle the health crisis.

In a letter, Nadda has asked chief ministers of BJP-ruled states to draft and implement a policy for supporting children who lost both their parents during the Covid-19 pandemic, by May 30, to mark the seventh anniversary of the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre. Nadda has also mentioned that no public functions will be held to mark the anniversary.

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