India's Covid-19 tally breached the 15.3 million-mark with 259,170 fresh cases and 1,761 fatalities, the biggest daily spike, recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the latest figures released by the Union ministry of health and family welfare on Tuesday morning. This is the sixth day in a row that the country's daily infection caseload has surpassed 200,000, however, the figure is slightly lower than on Monday, when the one-day tally was 273,810.
With the huge spike in Covid-19 cases in the second wave of the pandemic, India has expanded its vaccination strategy further and opened inoculation for all above the age of 18 years starting May 1. In a meeting about the third phase of the vaccination drive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "The government has been working hard for over a year to ensure that maximum number of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible time...India is vaccinating people at world record pace and we will continue this with even greater momentum".
With the daily cases increasing at a tremendous pace, several state governments have imposed strict restrictions including night curfews, weekend curfew, and ordered the closure of educational institutions. The national capital, Delhi, meanwhile, is observing a six-day lockdown that began Monday night as Covid-19 cases have surged by nearly 600% in the last two weeks which has led to a shortage of medical supplies. The Capital is unable to meet its requirement of ICU beds and oxygen cylinders for Covid-19 patients.
In a review meeting last week, PM Modi had emphasised that there is no substitute for testing, tracking, and treatment and that early testing and proper tracking remain key to reduce deaths. Testing has been scaled up with as many as 26,94,14,035 samples tested across the country, including 1,519,486 tests conducted on Monday, according to the latest figures released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Later in the day, PM Modi is scheduled to hold a meeting with vaccine manufacturers, who will supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the government in the third phase of the immunisation drive and will be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to state governments and in the open market. This would be Modi's third interaction with focus groups, after doctors and pharmaceutical companies on Monday.