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India records over 4,000 daily COVID-19 deaths

China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-05-17 09:58

Police officers confront alleged violators of COVID-19 restrictions in Gauhati, India, on Friday. ANUPAM NATH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

BENGALURU, India-India reported a smaller rise in daily COVID-19 cases for the third straight day on Sunday, but the number of deaths in 24 hours was higher than 4,000, taking the country's death toll to 270,000.

Deaths grew by 4,077, while infections rose by 311,170, the smallest rise in daily cases in more than three weeks, the health ministry said on Sunday. Over the week total infections rose more than 2 million and deaths by nearly 28,000. The tally of infections stood at 24.68 million.

India's massive second wave of infections began in February, putting hospitals and medical workers under pressure. Cases have fallen steadily in states hit by an initial surge of infections, such as the richest state of Maharashtra and the northern state of Delhi, after they imposed stringent lockdowns.

Federal health officials said on Saturday that the overall rate of positive cases per tests had fallen to 19.8 percent during the week from 21.9 percent the week before, sparking hopes that daily infections have begun to stabilize.

However, there have been surges in states such as Tamil Nadu in the south and rural areas. On Saturday Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on officials to strengthen healthcare resources in rural areas and step up surveillance as the virus spreads rapidly in those areas after ravaging the cities.

By Sunday the world's largest vaccine-producing country had fully vaccinated more than 40.4 million people, or 2.9 percent, of its 1.35 billion population, the government said. India will have 516 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by July, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday.

The Indian drugmaker Cipla said its production of the COVID-19 drug remdesivir was beginning to catch up with demand after the company sought to boost production amid the massive second wave of infections.

Cipla's production of remdesivir is five times higher than the monthly output of 200,000 to 300,000 vials during the last wave of the pandemic last year, said Kedar Upadhye, the company's chief financial officer. Remdesivir was originally developed by Gilead Sciences Inc of the United States.

14-day lockdown

On Saturday the West Bengal government announced a 14-day lockdown, from Sunday morning until May 30.

All government and private offices will remain closed, except emergency services. Intrastate bus, subway and ferry services, gyms, cinema halls, salons and swimming pools have also been ordered to remain shut.

The Philippines confirmed on Saturday the detection of 10 additional cases of the new COVID-19 variant first detected in India, bringing the total number of such cases in the country to 12.

Agencies - Xinhua

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