India on Friday added close to 40,000 new Covid-19 cases in the biggest daily increase in nearly four months, even as states such as Maharashtra and Punjab, which account for much of the surge in cases, imposed fresh restrictions in a bid to control the spread of the virus (see side-bars).
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, meanwhile, told Parliament that the Covid-19 vaccination drive will be extended in the coming days.
He also said it is not necessary, scientifically, to administer the vaccine to each and every person in the country.
The Union Health Ministry, in its morning bulletin, reported 39,726 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, the highest since November last year, taking the total tally to 1,15,14,331.
The country has registered an increase in the number active cases for the ninth consecutive day, reaching 2,71,282 as of Friday morning.
A net rise of 18,918 cases was recorded in the total active caseload in a span of 24 hours. With the death of 154 people in the last 24 hours, the fatality toll has reached 1,59,370, according to the Health Ministry’s bulletin issued at 8 a.m.
Apart from Maharashtra and Punjab, the states of Karnataka, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh are also reporting a surge in daily Covid19 cases, the five states accounting for over 80 per cent of the new infections. A day after Maharashtra witnessed the highest oneday spike of 25,833 Covid19 cases, the state recorded 25,681 cases on Friday, according to the state health department, with Mumbai reported the highest spike of 3,062 new infections.
Punjab reported 2,369 new cases in a 24-hour period while Kerala reported 1,899 new cases, the health ministry said in its morning update.
The new cases in Punjab rose by 2,490 on Friday, according to a state medical bulletin issued in the evening. During the Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said India has vaccinated 3.5 to 4 crore people so far and side effects of the vaccines has been recorded at 0.000432 per cent.
“Every vaccine doesn’t require universal immunisation and all these priority groups whom we are vaccinating today like healthcare staff first and then senior citizens and people aged between 45 and 59 years, it will be extended in the coming days, all these are based on experts’ opinion.