Amid preparations to start inoculation of high-risk groups, India’s daily coronavirus case count fell to 26,567 in the last 24 hours, the lowest in almost five months, government data shows. The daily case count is the lowest since July 10 when 26,506 fresh infections were detected against 2.3 lakh tests with a positivity rate of 9.3 per cent. In the last 24 hours, almost 10 lakh samples were tested conducted and the positivity rate was about 2.6 per cent.
Since yesterday, this is third Covid indicator to hit July levels after active cases – which have dropped below 4 lakh – and daily deaths – which were less than 400 after 157 days yesterday.
Up to 385 people lost their lives fighting COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The death rate has hovered around the 1.5 per cent mark since the September peak.
Total active cases – new cases minus recoveries – stood at 3.8 lakh as some 39,000 people fought off the viral disease in the last 24 hours. Overall, more than 91.97 lakh people have recovered from COVID-19 so far, pushing the recovery rate to 94.6 per cent.
The fall in daily numbers has been driven by a reduced infection load in Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal and Delhi – all of which saw a surge in the run up to the November festival season.
In the past day, though Kerala and Maharashtra continued to log the highest daily infections, their case load has fallen to about 3,000 each. West Bengal, which has been recording more than 3,000 cases since Durga Puja festivities in October, also recorded about 2,200 cases. Delhi’s daily cases dropped to 1,674 on back of fewer tests, while Rajasthan continued to record almost 2,000 cases – indicating spread in the state.
Highest daily deaths were logged from Delhi (63), West Bengal (48), Maharashtra (40), Chhattisgarh (21), and 23 deaths each from Kerala and Haryana.
India’s overall coronavirus tally has crossed 97 lakhs with 1,40,958 total deaths since the country’s first case was detected in January, almost a month after the Sars-CoV-2 outbreak in China.
On Wednesday, an expert panel will review the request by three pharmaceutical firms – the Serum Institute of India, Pfizer and Bharat Biotech – to approve emergency use of their coronavirus vaccines in India. The panel will send its recommendations to the drug controller DGCI, which will authorise use.
The UK, which is set to start giving Pfizer vaccine to its population from today, plans to test it in combination with another vaccine from AstraZeneca Plc – also a candidate in India.
As the year draws to a close with the world better equipped to handle the coronavirus pandemic that it was in the beginning, essential workers — the nurses, doctors, delivery people, grocery-store employees and others who risked their lives on the frontlines — won TIME’s 2020 Person of the Year Reader Poll. The virus has in infected 6.7 crore people and cost more than 15 lakh lives so far.