New Delhi:

India reported a record daily increase of 234,692 COVID-19 infections over the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Saturday. It was the eighth record daily increase in the last nine days.

Total cases reached nearly 14.5 million, second only to the United States which has reported more than 32 million infections.

India's deaths from COVID-19 rose by 1,341 to reach a total of 175,649, the data showed.

India may witness 1,750 deaths per day due to Covid-19, surging to around 2,320 by the first week of June, according to a report of the Lancet Covid-19 Commission by India Task Force members.

Ten states and union territories, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi, account for 79.32 percent of the new coronavirus cases in the country, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

It said Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 63,729. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 27,360, and Delhi with 19,486 fresh cases.

Ten states — Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan — report 79.32% of the new cases, the ministry said.

Sixteen states and UTs — Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Kerala, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal — are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases, it said The ministry said five states — Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala — cumulatively account for 65.02 percent of India's total active cases. Maharashtra alone accounts for 38.09 percent of the total active caseload of the country.

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of COVID19 vaccine doses administered in the country nearly reached 12 crores on Saturday as part of the world's largest vaccination drive.

Cumulatively, 11,99,37,641 vaccine doses have been administered through 17,37,539 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am on Saturday.

The total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country approached the 12 crore-mark on Friday with more than 26.14 lakh doses being given till 8 pm, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

A total of 66,689 Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) were operational, marking a rise of an average of 21,689 operational centres (45,000 CVCs on average are functional on any given day). Workplace vaccinations have also enabled such a high turnout of beneficiaries, it said.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country stands at 11,97,87,239, according to the 8 pm provisional report.
On Thursday, Gujarat crossed the grave milestone of 5,000 mortalities during the ongoing pandemic.

A day before, Ahmedabad had become the 10th district in India to have over 2,500 deaths. Analysis of the mortality trend in major cities revealed that Ahmedabad had case fatality rate (CFR) of 2.7% — the highest among 11 districts of India having 2,500-plus deaths.

India's daily Covid-19 vaccinations have slowed from their record high early this month while new infections have set a record in eight of the past nine days, government data show, underscoring a lack of doses in the country.

After giving and selling tens of millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses abroad, India has suddenly found itself short of shots. It has abruptly changed rules to allow it to fast-track vaccine imports, having earlier rebuffed foreign drugmakers like Pfizer.

Vaccinations peaked at 4.5 million doses on April 5 but have averaged about 3 million a day since then, according to the government's Co-Win portal to coordinate immunisations.

The country of 1.35 billion people has reported the most number of coronavirus cases in the world this month, flooding hospitals with patients and filling crematoriums and cemeteries with the dead. Its caseload has widened to 14.3 million, the most after the United States, with 174,308 deaths.

The ferocious second surge, which overtook the pace of the first in a matter of weeks, had sent people rushing to vaccination centres, but many centres are now rationing supplies as output fails to meet demand.

India is vaccinating only people aged above 45 years, having started the campaign in the middle of January with health and then other front-line workers. It has so far administered 115.5 million doses, the most in the world after the United States and China, though it ranks much lower when accounting for population.

Many states have sought an expansion of the inoculation drive to include all adults as cases rise, but the government has said doses are "finite", although enough to cover the identified groups.

The government said on Friday the country had a stock of about 30 million doses. Going by India's immunisation trend in the past week, that will be enough to last 10 days.

As supplies tighten, India this week gave emergency authorisation to Russia's Sputnik V vaccine and imports to cover as many as 125 million people will start this month.

The government has also urged Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to sell their shots to India and has made rules easier for them.

India has also allowed biomedical research body Haffkine Institute, based in the western state of Maharashtra, to produce the home-grown shot Covaxin as developer Bharat Biotech struggles to boost its output.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, locally made by the Serum Institute of India (SII), accounts for more than 91% of total doses given in the country. Production ramp-up at SII, the world's biggest vaccine maker, has been delayed by a raw-material shortage.