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India posts lowest daily rise in COVID-19 cases in more than a month

India posts lowest daily rise in COVID-19 cases in more than a month

Dr Ajoy Kr Mistary takes a nasal swab from Boluram Mondal, a villager, for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test during a free medical camp set up to provide healthcare support to villagers, at Debipur.

BENGALURU: India reported on Friday (May 28) 186,364 new COIVD-19 infections during the previous 24 hours, for its lowest daily rise since Apr 14, while deaths rose by 3,660.

READ: India scraps local trials for COVID-19 shots to fast-track imports as it battles second wave

The South Asian nation's tally of infections now stands at 27.56 million, with the death toll at 318,895, health ministry data show.

India's official tally of daily coronavirus infections has been falling in the past few days, offering hope that its second wave is ebbing.

Chunilal Mondal, 60, a villager with breathing difficulties receives oxygen support during a free medical camp set up to provide healthcare support to villagers.

But there are serious concerns that many new infections are not being reported, largely due to a dearth of testing in the countryside.

COVID-19 infections in the South Asia region surpassed 30 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally of official data.

The region - India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka - accounts for 18 per cent of global cases and almost 10 per cent of deaths. 

COMMENTARY: India's second COVID-19 wave threatens global supplies of vaccines

READ: Pfizer in talks with India for COVID-19 vaccine supplies

This month, India opened its coronavirus vaccination campaign to everyone aged 18 or older. However, it has not been able to meet vaccine demand despite being one of the biggest vaccine producers in the world.

India has been inoculating its people with the AstraZeneca vaccine produced locally at the Serum Institute of India, Covaxin made by local firm Bharat Biotech and has begun rolling out Russia's Sputnik V.

Villagers wait to receive medicine at a free medical camp set up to provide healthcare support to villagers, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19), at Debipur village in South 24 Parganas district in the eastern West Bengal state, India, May 21, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing mounting criticism for the failure to secure vaccines as only about 3 per cent of India's 1.3 billion population has been fully vaccinated, the lowest rate among the 10 countries with the most cases.

To meet domestic demand, India temporarily halted vaccine exports in March after donating or selling more than 66 million doses. The halt has left countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and many in Africa scrambling for alternate supplies.

However, India is still facing a vaccine shortage and several of its state governments, and even cities such as Mumbai, have launched global tenders or sought expressions of interest from firms such as Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson for urgent supplies.

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Source: Reuters/ad

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