India saw an increase in its daily tally of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Thursday after 18,454 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, which pushed the caseload to 34,127,450, according to the Union health ministry's data. Thursday's infection count has been the highest since October 14, when 18,987 people were detected as Covid-19 positive.
Over 17,500 patients recovered and 160 succumbed to the viral disease in the last 24 hours, the health ministry's data further showed. With this, the total number of recoveries and deaths has climbed to 33,495,808 and 452,811 respectively. The active cases, which have been the lowest since March last year, stand at 178,831 and constitute 0.52% of the caseload. The recovery rate has climbed to 98.15% and is the highest since March last year while the daily Covid-19 positivity rate is at 1.48% and has been below the 3%-mark for the 52nd consecutive day.
Thursday's infection count is 533 more than that of Wednesday's when 14,623 cases were registered. However, the deaths on Thursday are 37 less than that of Wednesday's when 197 patients died due to Covid-19.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), as many as 1,247,506 samples were tested for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, which has taken the cumulative number of samples tested to 595,742,218.
On Thursday morning, India achieved a landmark milestone in its vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease as more than one billion vaccine doses have been administered to eligible beneficiaries till now. The vaccination drive in the country was started in January and it took nine months to reach this landmark.
"We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians. Congrats India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on the achievement on Thursday.
In the run-up to the vaccination drive on January 16, only two vaccines- Serum Institute's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin were given emergency approval by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). As the inoculation drive progressed with doses being administered to different age groups, the Centre started granting emergency approval to other vaccines as well.
To date, the Centre has granted emergency approval to a total of six vaccines. Apart from Covishield and Covaxin, the remaining four vaccines are - Russia's Sputnik V, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and Zydus Cadila.