WORLD / ASIA-PACIFIC
India records highest daily death toll
6,148 perish as COVID-19 ravages subcontinent, no end in sight
Published: Jun 10, 2021 06:18 PM
A health worker vaccinates a man with Covishield vaccine against the COVID-19 in a passenger bus converted into a mobile vaccination center at a wholesale market in Kolkata on Thursday. India has reported 28,441,986 cases with 338,013 deaths as of Thursday. Photo: AFP

A health worker vaccinates a man with Covishield vaccine against the COVID-19 in a passenger bus converted into a mobile vaccination center at a wholesale market in Kolkata on Thursday. India has reported 28,441,986 cases with 338,013 deaths as of Thursday. Photo: AFP



India reported on Thursday the highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 in the world, at 6,148, after a big eastern state revised its figures to account for people who succumbed to the disease at home or in private hospitals.

The health department of Bihar, one of India's poorest states, revised its total COVID-19 related death toll on Wednesday to more than 9,400 from about 5,400. The US had recorded 5,444 COVID-19 deaths on February 12.

India's total COVID-19 case load now stands at 29.2 million after rising by 94,052 in the past 24 hours, while total fatalities are at 359,676, according to data from the health ministry.

Indian officials and health experts previously welcomed a federal government plan to give free COVID-19 shots to all adults as a step in the right direction on Tuesday, but cautioned that vaccinations must be accelerated to prevent new surges in infections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday the federal government would take over the inoculation program from Indian states and offer free doses to everyone over the age of 18.

His announcement on national television followed weeks of criticism of a vaccine rollout that has covered fewer than 5 percent of India's estimated adult population of 950 million. This has left the country vulnerable to another wave of infections after a surge in April-May which government data showed killed 170,000.

"Took him four months but after much pressure, he has finally listened to us and implemented what we've been asking all this while," Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal state, wrote on Twitter.

India has been giving an average of 2.4 million shots a day. Health officials say this is far from adequate for a country as large as India.

"We need to vaccinate 7-8 million persons per day to meet the target of covering all the eligible persons before the end of December," Giridhara Babu, a member of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the country's main health research agency, told Reuters.

Babu is part of the national taskforce's working group on epidemiology and surveillance.

Daily infections have fallen and officials aim to switch the focus to mass vaccinations. India reported 86,498 new cases overnight, the lowest number in over two months and a sharp drop from a peak of around 400,000 a day in May. 

India has been inoculating its people with AstraZeneca (AZN.L) shots produced at the Serum Institute of India, and Covaxin made by Indian firm Bharat Biotech. It is set to commercially launch Russia's Sputnik V in mid-June.

One reason for the low coverage is that supplies are tight. At Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram hospital, there are no supplies of AstraZeneca, a hospital executive said.

Authorities in Delhi have asked hospitals to stop giving the first dose of home-produced Covaxin to people aged from 18 to 44 and focus instead on the elderly until supplies improve, a spokesperson of the party governing the city said.

Reuters
blog comments powered by Disqus