A health worker in personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from at Sarojini Nagar in New Delhi. There has been a decline in the daily number of Covid-19 cases for the last three days.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
A health worker in personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from at Sarojini Nagar in New Delhi. There has been a decline in the daily number of Covid-19 cases for the last three days.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

India records decline in daily Covid-19 cases and deaths; tally over 2.7 million

The health ministry’s dashboard showed that the number recovered patients climbed to 1,977,779 as 57,937 people were cured of Covid-19 between Monday and Tuesday morning. With that, India’s recovery rate climbed to 73.17%.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Meenakshi Ray
UPDATED ON AUG 18, 2020 10:19 AM IST

India saw 55,079 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and 875 deaths, the lowest in nearly a week, in the last 24 hours, bringing the country’s case count to 2,702,742, according to the Union health ministry data.

There has been a decline in the daily number of Covid-19 cases for the last three days--there were 63,490 infections last Sunday and 57,981 on Monday, the health ministry’s data showed.

The health ministry’s dashboard showed that the number recovered patients climbed to 1,977,779 as 57,937 people were cured of Covid-19 between Monday and Tuesday morning. With that, India’s recovery rate climbed to 73.17%.

The gap between the active cases at 673,166 and recovered cases in the country has widened further at 1,304,613. The country’s death toll from the coronavirus disease is now at 51,797. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said 3,09,41,264 samples were tested up to Monday for Covid-19. Of these, 8,99,864 samples were tested on Monday, the top research body said.

“A new peak of 8.97 lakh #COVID19 tests were done in the last 24 hours. Even with such a high level of testing, the positivity has remained low i.e. 8.81% compared to the weekly national average i.e. 8.84%,” the health ministry said in a tweet on Tuesday.

“Focused implemention of Centre-led strategies has ensured prompt identification, timely isolation & effective clinical treatment, leading to reduced Case Fatality Rate. 30 States/UTs performed better than the national average,” it added.

The government has asked five pharmaceutical firms, including three that have candidates in clinical trials, prepare and a present a comprehensive note on the way forward by Thursday on how soon they can produce large quantities and what pricing they expect if their shot is approved.

The meeting was held between an expert group spearheading India’s vaccine strategy and involved Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila – all three have vaccine candidates in human trials. Serum Institute is licensed to produce up to some quantities the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is largely considered the front runner globally.

The two others were Biological E and Gennova, both of which have candidates in preclinical phases. Trial data of none of the India-made vaccines is yet to be made available.

“Even as scientists are working to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, we are simultaneously working on procuring the final product to ensure availability and access to our population,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said following Monday’s meeting. “. As part of India’s proactive, pre-emptive and graded response to Covid-19 since January, the expert group is holding consultations with vaccine manufacturers to plan ahead for the production, pricing and distribution of the vaccine, whenever it is ready,” he added.

India has not struck a pre-production deal with any of the vaccine developers that are in the race for a successful candidate, a strategy several advanced economies such as United States, United Kingdom and some European Union nations have adopted in order to jump what might be a long waiting line.

Of these countries, the US has the most number of infections at 5,437,851, followed by Brazil with 3,359,570 cases. There have been more than 21 million cases of the coronavirus disease and 773,152 deaths across the world.

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