India recorded the lowest number of cases in five months on Tuesday- 26,567 in the last 24 hours, government data shows. The daily case count fell amid preparations to start the vaccination of high-risk groups.
With fresh cases the overall coronavirus tally has crossed 97 lakh- mark- 97,03,770, while the death toll rose to 1,40,958 with 385 new fatalities, data updated by the ministry at 8 am showed. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 91,78,946, pushing the national recovery rate to 94.59 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stood at 1.45 per cent.
The number of cases is the lowest since July 10 - the third indicator to hit July levels after active cases and daily deaths, which stood at 385 for the day. On Sunday, the Covid-linked daily fatalities also fell below the 400-mark after five months, state the health ministry.
India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7,30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It had gone past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, and surpassed 90 lakh on November 20.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 14,88,14,055 samples have been tested up to December 7, with10,26,399 samples being tested.
Meanwhile on Monday, Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech applied to the central drug regulator seeking emergency use authorisation for its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin. It is being indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The company is currently conducting phase-3 clinical trials of its vaccine in around 25 places, including Delhi, Mumbai, Patna and Lucknow. However, while applying for the phase-3 trial, the company had stated that the vaccine was well-tolerated in all dose groups and no serious adverse events have been reported.
An expert committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) will meet on Wednesday to review applications of Pfizer, Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech seeking emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 4 had expressed hope that a COVID-19 vaccine may be ready in a few weeks, the Indian branch of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer had sought approval for its vaccine from the central drug regulator, after the firm secured such clearance in the UK and Bahrain.