India's tally of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) climbed to 29,823,546 on Saturday after 60,753 fresh cases were reported in the last 24 hours, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare. As many as 1,647 people succumbed to Covid-19 and 97,743 recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll and recoveries to 385,137 and 28,678,390 respectively so far. The daily recoveries continued to outnumber the new cases for the 37th consecutive day.
The active cases have come down to 760,019, the lowest after 74 days. They constitute 2.68 per cent of the caseload.
Saturday's cases are 1,727 less than that of Friday's when 62,480 people were detected Covid-19 positive. On the other hand, the death toll on Saturday is 60 more than that of Friday's when 1,587 fatalities were reported, the lowest in over two months.
Over 1.9 million samples were tested for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative testing figures to 389,207,637, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Saturday.
The Union health ministry said on Friday that there has been a continuous decline in the daily infections since the country reported a peak of over 414,000 cases on May 7.
"Since May 7, we have witnessed a continuous decline. On May 25, the daily cases went below the 200,000-mark. On June 7, the cases were around 100,000 and if you analyse the data of Friday, 62,480 new cases were seen. This means there is a decline of almost 85 per cent since the highest reported peak in new cases. For the past 11 days, the daily cases have remained below the 100,000-mark," health ministry's joint secretary Lav Agarwal said while addressing a routine briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country.
On the vaccination front, India has inoculated 272,388,783 people till now of which over 3.3 million were given the shot in the last 24 hours. Underlining the importance of vaccination, NITI Aayog's Dr VK Paul said during Friday's briefing that studies carried out among healthcare workers revealed that after getting inoculated, the chances of getting hospitalised are reduced by 75-80 per cent even if they test positive for the viral disease. "The possibility of such individuals needing oxygen support is around 8 per cent and the risk of ICU admission is only 6 per cent in vaccinated persons," Dr Paul added.
As the debate on the 12-16 weeks gap between two doses of the Serum Institute of India's Covishield vaccine is intensifying, the chief investigator of AstraZeneca's vaccine clinical trials has backed the duration announced by the Centre on May 13.
Speaking to The Wire, Professor Andrew Pollard said on Friday the vaccination policy of India and the United Kingdom cannot be compared because of the different circumstances in both these countries. "An immunisation policy that aims to vaccinate the largest number of people in the quickest possible time with at least one dose makes sense in the present circumstances in India," Pollard said and pointed out that a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine provides above 70 per cent protection against serious illness and hospitalisation.