Published: Wed, May 05, 2021

India's coronavirus infection count passes 20 mil.

India's coronavirus infection count passes 20 mil.

The number of new COVID infections in India has officially passed 20 million cases, even as the government says that infection rates are coming down.

The vaccine, which has an efficacy of 78 per cent, is also able to neutralise the United Kingdom variant B.1.1.7 that was also detected in Kenya.

"It is our solemn duty that Indian nationals who are undocumented or are in distress overseas and are not being given nationality or resident permit have to be taken back, and I think we will do that", said the senior MEA official.

Rahul Gandhi, a leader of the opposition Congress party, said this week "a lockdown is now the only option because of a complete lack of strategy by the Indian government".

But almost a dozen states have imposed curbs on their own. With more than 100,000 infections, its death toll is nearing 3,000, government figures show.

The surge in infections has put a significant strain on India's healthcare system, with hospital beds and medical oxygen in short supply.

Rows of funeral pyres in parks and carparks cremate the overflow of corpses.

Modi has been criticized for not moving sooner to limit the latest wave of infections and for letting millions of largely unmasked people attend religious festivals and crowded political rallies during March and April.

The daily number of new cases has, however, declined in recent days, having peaked at 402,000 on Friday.

On Monday the state had injected 79,491 doses, down from a record 534,372 a week ago.

In Modi's home state of Gujarat, the three largest cities of Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara limited vaccines to the 18-44 age group, officials said.

"I am exhausted of standing in a queue".

"I will try one more time".

Currently, the country has 3.45 million active cases.

The numbers eligible to receive the vaccines have doubled to an estimated 800 million since May 1. Today our Prime Ministers have set an ambitious target of doubling trade by 2030 and announcing £1 billion of new trade and investment.

India has invited Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc to sell it vaccines but none have applied yet.

Efforts to scale up the vaccination drive are hampered by the shortage of doses.

"Without drastic measures to bolster the health system to deal with this onslaught, decreased social mixing, and increased effective face mask use, the situation now looks quite grim for India", said an updated country-specific policy briefing from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a widely regarded independent research wing of the University of Washington based in Seattle.

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