India logs record of 150,000 infections, starts ‘vaccine festival’

India clears Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine amid deadly COVID-19 wave
Indian

India on Sunday recorded its biggest-ever daily spike of 152,879 coronavirus cases.

This is as authorities launched a four-day “vaccine festival” to intensify the inoculation campaign in the country.

Fresh infections were five per cent higher than on Friday, when the country registered 145,384 cases, according to Health Ministry data.

The number of deaths rose by 839 in the last 24 hours, pushing the total death count to 169,275.

Meanwhile, a so-called “Tika Utsav” (Hindi for vaccine festival) is being organised in the country to inoculate the maximum number of eligible people against the virus.

The mass vaccination programme is to be conducted until April 14, following an appeal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to chief state ministers at a meeting on the medical crisis.

More than 100 million doses have already been administered to front-line workers and people above 45 in India’s vaccination drive, which began early this year.

However, several states have claimed they are facing vaccine shortages despite assurances from the government.

The surge in infections has forced many states, including the national capital New Delhi, to impose tight restrictions.

Such restrictions include night-time curfews, school closures and limiting visits to restaurants, theatres and other events.

The spike in cases has also led to hospital bed shortages including in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, which accounts for over half of India’s active cases.

India, which at over 13.2 million has the third-largest coronavirus caseload after the United States and Brazil, saw a downward trend in infections from the end of 2020.

But the numbers began rising again in mid-February.

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