For the first time since February, India's daily Covid tally has passed the 20,000-mark with 20,139 new infections. The surge comes as government aims to encourage people with third dose or booster shots with free doses from Friday.
On Wednesday, the government announced that it would make vaccine booster doses free for all adults at government-run centres from Friday for 75 days as part of its Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. "As part of AzadiKaAmritMahotsav celebrations, free Covid-19 precaution dose will be administered to all the citizens above 18 years of age at government vaccination centres, from 15 July 2022 till the next 75 days. I thank PM @NarendraModi Ji for this decision," tweeted Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: "Vaccination is an effective means to fight Covid-19. Today's Cabinet decision will further India's vaccination coverage and create a healthier nation." So far, the booster doses have been free for adults above 60 years of age.
About 92% of Indians who are currently eligible for a third, or booster dose, of the Covid-19 vaccine have not yet taken these shots, Hindustan Times has corroborated data in a report.
India on Monday reported 20,139 fresh cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total tally to 43,689,989.
A total of 38 deaths have been reported, taking the total fatalities to 5,25,557. Meanwhile, the recovery rate in the country stands at 98.49 percent with 16,482 people having recovered in the last 24 hours.
The daily positive rate in the country currently stands at 5.10 percent.
The active caseload is at 1,36,076 with 3,619 cases being reported in the past 24 hours. The active cases account for 0.31 percent of the total cases.
Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has recently warned that the pandemic is "nowhere near over" in view of the fresh surge of cases across the world.