India recorded 58,419 fresh cases of Covid-19 over the last 24 hours, the lowest daily rise in 81 days, according to data released by the health ministry on Sunday. The three worst-affected states account for over 29,000 of these cases.
The country recorded 1,576 deaths from the disease during the day. The daily positivity rate stands at 3.22 per cent: the thirteenth consecutive day it has remained below 5 per cent. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers a positivity rate below 5 per cent to be within the safe zone.
The number of active cases in the country have decreased by 30,776 in the last 24 hours bringing down the total to 7,29,243. The daily recoveries have been outnumbering fresh infections for 38 days in a row now. About 87,619 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.
Kerala is the worst-hit state with 12,443 new cases in the last 24 hours. It was followed by Maharashtra (8,912 cases) and Tamil Nadu (8,183 cases).
Meanwhile over 27 crore people have been vaccinated under the accelerated inoculation drive which began in January, the government said. More than 5.5 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the age group 18-44, so far, it said.
Need to be cautious
Many states have begun easing Covid-related lockdown norms as the devastating second Covid wave is receding. The Telangana government on Saturday announced reopening of all educational institutions from July 1 while UP has also allowed all markets and restaurants to open at 50 per cent capacity.
However, surging crowds at market places has emerged as an area of major concern over triggering a third wave. The Centre, however, has warned states to ensure the "extremely important" five-fold strategy of Covid-appropriate behaviour, test-track-treat and vaccination to prevent the spread of the disease. Vaccination against COVID-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission, it said.
AIIMS Delhi director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Saturday that a third Covid wave in India is "inevitable" and could even strike in the next six to eight weeks as people are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour, He was referring to the surging crowds thronging markets, with several people amongst them not wearing masks. Dr Guleria came out in favour of a gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions as there was a need to "factor in human behaviour while unlocking."
Covid-19 is continuing to spread around the world, with more than 178.9 million confirmed cases and 3,874,879 deaths across nearly 200 countries recorded since China reported its first cases to the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2019. The US remains the worst-hit country with 34,401,712, followed by India, Brazil, France and Turkey.