With India reporting as many as 89,129 new cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Saturday, the country’s infection tally currently stands at 1,23,92,260. 714 new fatalities have pushed the death toll from the virus to 1,64,110. According to health ministry data, the country’s tally of cases stood at 1,20,39,644 at the beginning of the week, on Monday, while the death toll was at 1,61,843. Thus, over the span of five days, India registered 3,52,616 Covid-19 cases and 2,267 deaths. Presently, the active caseload stands at 6,58,909, a sharp increase of 1,37,101 cases from Monday’s active case count of 5,21,808.

Meanwhile, the worldwide tally has crossed the 130 million mark, with the United States (US), Brazil, and India occupying the top three spots in the country-wise distribution of global cases.

Here are the significant Covid-19-related developments this week in India in 10 points:

1. Delhi has been recording a massive surge in cases in the span of the last few weeks. On Friday, the national capital recorded as many as 3,594 fresh cases of Covid-19, the highest daily count this year. The last time the count reached nearly as high was on December 4 last year, when Delhi recorded 4,067 cases, according to official data.

2. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the national capital is encountering the fourth wave of Covid-19. However, the imposition of a lockdown is not being considered yet, he said, adding that the fourth wave is less serious than the previous ones as there are fewer deaths and hospitalisations this time. If there is a need for a lockdown in the future, the decision will be taken after due public consultation, he said.

3. Maharashtra, the worst-hit state by the pandemic, is mulling over the possibility of another lockdown. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday that the possibility of a lockdown cannot be ruled out if the current coronavirus situation prevails. He also cautioned that the state may fall short of healthcare infrastructure in the next 15 to 20 days. On Friday, Maharashtra recorded 47,827 new Covid-19 cases, the highest daily rise since the coronavirus pandemic began last year.

4. Karnataka has issued a fresh set of Covid-19 related guidelines to curb the virus spreading in the state. According to an official notification, cinema halls, pubs, bars, clubs, and restaurants have been directed to allow no more than 50% of the maximum capacity. While gyms and swimming pools remain closed, shopping malls and departmental stores must ensure compliance with Covid-19 appropriate behaviour from customers. Moreover, classes from 6-9 have been suspended and all gatherings at places of worship remain prohibited.

5. Amid an increased tourist footfall, the Jammu and Kashmir government is resorting to a ‘fast-track vaccination’ process in four districts of Jammu, Srinagar, Budgam, and Baramulla. The administration is aiming to inoculate all persons in the eligible age group in these four districts, which account for the maximum number of Covid-19 cases in the union territory.

6. The central government has categorised 11 states and Union territories as those being “of grave concern” with regard to the Covid-19 situation. In a high-level meeting on Friday chaired by cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, the authorities directed Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana, and Delhi to make a “time-bound plan” to ensure 100% vaccination of every single eligible beneficiary.

7. With 1,733 Covid-19 new cases, West Bengal, too, logged its highest single-day spike of 2021 on Friday, a health department bulletin said. Kolkata alone accounts for 513 of these fresh cases, followed by North 24 Parganas at 331.

8. With regards to vaccination, a total of 36.7 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines were administered across India on Friday, the highest single-day coverage till now. As per the union health ministry’s provisional report till 8pm on Friday, more than seven crores (7,06,18,026, to be exact) vaccine doses have been administered in the country. Maharashtra is at the heart of India’s vaccination drive, with the state accounting for 9.48% of the total vaccine doses administered.

9. India is the leading vaccine exporter in the world, with over 640 lakh doses supplied to more than 80 countries till now, the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has informed. The ministry’s spokesperson Arindam Bagchi asserted on Friday that India’s ‘Vaccine Maitree’ initiative to supply vaccines abroad has been “very successful”. Of the total 644 lakh doses supplied abroad till now, 104 lakh have been delivered as a “grant”, 357 lakh on a commercial basis, and 182 lakh through the ‘COVAX’ initiative, Bagchi said.

10. Experts have recommended that the private sector step up and collaborate with the government to speed up the country’s vaccination drive. VK Paul, NITI Aayog member, told reporters earlier this week that the private vaccine providers need to participate in India’s inoculation campaign. “We were told there are 20,000 private vaccination centres in the country. But less than 6,000 vaccination centres are being run by the private sector in India. We request the private sector to make the remaining vaccination centres functional and increase their number,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

(With inputs from agencies)

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