India’s daily coronavirus cases rose by less than 40,000 for the fifth straight day, Health Ministry data showed on Friday, with 36,595 new infections reported in the last 24 hours.
India’s daily rate has fallen since the south Asian nation reported the world’s highest such tallies through most of August and September, despite a busy festival season last month that experts had warned could trigger a spike in infections.
Its tally is now at 9.57 million and remains the world’s second-highest after the United States, where there have been nearly 14 million infections.
Deaths in India rose by 540, the Ministry said, with the total now at 139,188.
Half a million deaths occurred in just the last two months, indicating that the severity of the pandemic is far from over. Nearly 65 million people globally have been infected by the disease and the worst affected country, United States, is currently battling a third wave of coronavirus infections.
In the last week alone, more than 10,000 people in the world died on average every single day, which has been steadily rising each passing week. Many countries across the world are now fighting second and third waves even greater than the first, forcing new restrictions on everyday life.
The novel coronavirus caused more deaths in the past year than tuberculosis in 2019 and nearly four times the number of deaths due to malaria, according to the World Health Organisation.
On Wednesday, Britain became the first country to approve the vaccine candidate developed by Germany’s BioNTech and Pfizer Inc, jumping ahead of the rest of the world in the race to begin a crucial mass inoculation programme.
However, supplies are expected to be very limited in the early stages, which means that every country beginning the drive will have to prioritise based on risk factors.
U.S. health regulators are expected to approve distribution and administration of the vaccine in mid-December.
Africa aims to have 60% of its population vaccinated against COVID-19 within the next two to three years, the African Union’s disease control group said on Thursday. The continent of 1.3 billion people has recorded more than 2.2 million confirmed coronavirus infections, according to a Reuters tally.