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India's Covid-19 tally nears 5 mn with one-fifth of total cases active

India took six months to reach the first million covid cases and it has gone from four to 4.9 million in 11 days

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | India

Ruchika Chitravanshi  |  New Delhi 

Coronavirus testing
As on Tuesday, 3.69 per cent patients were on oxygen support, 2.17 per cent were in the ICU and 0.36 per cent were on ventilators, according to the health ministry.

With the number of cases touching nearly five million and deaths crossing 80,000, is closing the gap with the US, which has over 6.5 million cases, the highest in the world.

took six months to reach the first million Covid-19 cases, but has gone from four to 4.9 million in

11 days.

Meanwhile, the race for the Covid-19 vaccine is also gathering pace.

Amongst three ongoing clinical trials for the vaccine in India, and have completed recruitments for phase two trial, while Serum Institute is expecting clearance to start phase three trial across 14 sites on 1,500 individuals.

“Serum has done its phase II-b trial on the first 100 patients. They paused it for a week and want to start the third phase soon,” Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, said.

One-fifth of the total cases are active in India, according to the health ministry, with 3, 573 cases per million people. The government is expected to release the results of the second serosurvey conducted across 70 districts by the end of this month.


The daily average of new cases has been rising in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, while there are initial signs of a decline in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. These are the top five states with the highest Covid-19 caseload.

The test positivity of cases is highest in Maharashtra, with 21.5 per cent of patients testing positive against a average of 8.4 per cent. “If, in spite of large-scale testing, a state is seeing higher positivity, then it needs to ramp up testing further,” Rajesh Bhushan, health secretary, said.

As on Tuesday, 3.69 per cent patients were on oxygen support, 2.17 per cent were in the ICU and 0.36 per cent were on ventilators, according to the

“There is no shortage of oxygen in the country. We have a headroom of about 1,900 metric tonnes daily extra capacity. States have to ensure proper inventory management in hospitals so that they can alert whenever there is a shortage,” said Bhushan. He was responding to a question on shortage of oxygen in hospitals with the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

On whether will authorise emergency use of vaccine, Bhushan said that such provisions are there in the regulatory framework of the country and provide for accelerated permissions, which is distinct from market authorisation. “No one has applied for emergency authorisation for the vaccine yet,” Bhushan added.

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First Published: Tue, September 15 2020. 19:13 IST