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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 22 October 2020 8.42 AM IST

Vaccine against COVID-19 expected early next year in India, possible from more than one source: Vardhan

harsh-vardhan

NEW DELHI: India is expected to have COVID-19 vaccine by early next year, and possibly from more than one source, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday, and hoped that 40-50 crore doses could be provided to 20-25 crore people in the country by next July.

The minister's remarks came as the health ministry said that there is a continuous decline in the average daily new cases of COVID-19 in India for the last five weeks, and the doubling rate has gone from 3 days to 74.9 days.

Also on Tuesday, the number of new coronavirus infections reported in 24 hours across the country dropped below 60,000-mark, with 55,342 new cases, while death toll climbed to 1,09,856 as the virus claimed 706 lives, according to the ministry data. India has so far reported 71,75,880 coronavirus cases and the total recoveries have crossed 62 lakh, according to the data.

The country has been recording less than 75,000 new infections daily for the fifth consecutive day and fatalities below 1,000 for 10 straight days, the ministry said.

"We're expecting that early next year we should have vaccine in the country from maybe more than one source. We are formulating strategies for planned distribution of the vaccine in the country," Vardhan tweeted.

In a tweet, he said he also hopes that by July next year nearly 40-50 crore doses will be made available to 20-25 crore people in the country.

Vardhan, who chaired the 21th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 via video-conference here, said a strategy on how to provide vaccines to the "priority groups" was also discussed.

The minister also appealed to everyone regarding observance of COVID19-appropriate behaviour during the forthcoming festival season and the winter months, "when the likelihood of an increase in the disease is high", the Health Ministry said in a statement.

During the meeting, he also said with 62,27,295 recovered cases, India has the highest recovery rate of 86.78 percent in the world. "Fatality Rate of 1.53 percent is the lowest in the world and the doubling time has been successfully raised to 74.9 days in the last three days," he said.

He also rejected scepticism over the slow pace of testing, saying, "a total of 1,927 labs at present have led to an upsurge in testing. India's testing capacity has been hiked to 1.5 million tests per day. Close to 11 lakh samples were tested in the last 24 hours."

Vardhan also told the meeting that while mapping the global vaccine landscape, only 9 vaccines have advanced from phase 2 trials to phase 3, and out of these 3 are in India.

Meanwhile, during a briefing, the health ministry secretary told reporters that India continues to report a trend of steadily decreasing active cases and presently the active cases of the country stands at 8,38,729. The active cases have been below the 9 lakh mark for the 5th consecutive day, he said.

"From the last five weeks, there is a continuous decline in the average daily new cases. The weekly average of daily new cases fell from 92,830 cases in the 2nd week of September to 70,114 cases in 2nd week of October," he said.

India registered a record single-day increase of 97,894 COVID-19 cases on September 17.

While the global figure for COVID-19 cases per million is 4,794, India is reporting 5,199 infections.The UK (8,893), Russia (8,992), South Africa (11,675), USA (23,072) and Brazil (23,911) are reporting higher numbers of cases per million, the ministry said.

It also asserted that the deaths/million in India are 79, while the world average is 138.

"As far tests for detection of COVID-19 are concerned, India is one of the topmost countries," the ministry highlighted.

"With 10,73,014 tests being conducted on Monday, the cumulative number of tests done so far stand at 8.89 crore (8,89,45,107). Higher numbers of testing on a sustained basis have aided the early identification and timely treatment which leads to higher recoveries and lower fatality rate", the ministry underlined.

Providing data on case fatality rate among different age groups, the ministry said about 47 percent of COVID-19 deaths have been recorded among those aged below 60 years, and added that about 70 percent COVID-19 deaths have been of male patients while 30 percent of fatalities from the infection have been reported in females.

According to the ministry, ten states account for 79 percent of the total COVID19 active cases in the country, with Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala contains maximum number of active cases as compared to other States & UTs.

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