India on Wednesday recorded a massive surge of 1,15, 736 new Covid-19 cases, the highest number of daily cases ever since the outbreak of pandemic. The government said the next four weeks are very very critical, and sought participation from people to control the second wave of the pandemic.
With 630 deaths reported over the past 24 hours, the total fatalities has mounted to 1,66,177. The total active caseload stands at 8,43,473, the overall tally has reached to 1,28,01,785. As many as 1,17,92,135 people have recovered so far from the deadly disease with 59,856 recoveries in the last 24 hours.
The previous high of 1,03,844 new cases in a span of 24 hours was reported on Sunday.The number of new cases in a single day breached the 1-lakh mark for the second time this year.
Amid the rising Covid cases, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan held a high-level review meeting with Health Ministers, Additional Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries (Health) of States/UTs of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan to monitor the situation. These States/UTs have been registering the highest rise in daily cases and daily mortality because of the coronavirus in the last two weeks.
Pointing out the reason of the continuous surge in cases, Harsh Vardhan said it seems people have given Tilanjali to measures and steps that can protect them from Covid, such as mask wearing, avoiding gatherings and maintaining physical distance, which I have called social vaccine and are as important as the vaccines that we now have.
Over 8 crore people have been inoculated in the vaccination drive which began in January. However, the country is still facing growing calls for expanding the vaccination drive to cover all age groups. The Centre seemed to be veering towards the view to make those above 18 years of age also eligible for the jabs. At present, only those above 45 years are allowed to take the vaccine.
The Indian Medical Association(IMA) in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested that vaccination be allowed for all people above the age of 18 years. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, meanwhile, has said that vaccinations will not be opened up to a wider group anytime soon. Why did we prioritise some groups over others? Because in this phase of vaccination (till around July), vaccines will be in limited supply, he said.
Meanwhile, the Serum Institute of India (SII) chairman Adar Poonawalla, the manufacturer of Covishield, one of the two Covid vaccines in India, said its current production capacity to make the vaccine is very stressed, to put it frankly. He said that SII needed Rs 3,000 crore, in order to ramp up capacity needed to scale up production by June.