Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received her second dose coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, posting on Twitter a photo of the vaccination site in New Delhi as the daily number of cases hit an all-time high.
Authorities on Thursday reported more than 126,000 new infections in India in the past 24 hours, the highest ever recorded in the country in terms of daily new cases. Some 55,000 of these cases have been reported in the hard-hit state of Maharashtra.
The total number of confirmed cases in India has now reached nearly 13 million and the populous South Asian country has become a global pandemic hotspot in recent months, behind only the United States and Brazil.
At least 166,000 people have died from covid-19 in India since the start of the pandemic.
The surge there has been driven by more flexible social distancing measures and the spread of new variants, experts say. Last month, India’s Ministry of Health announced that it had detected a new “double mutant” variant in Maharashtra, home to the country’s financial capital, Mumbai. But authorities have played down the role of the variant in the spike in new infections.
This week, local health officials also sounded the alarm over possible vaccine shortages, including in Maharashtra, where the state health minister said authorities would run out of doses in just three days.
India is one of the world’s largest producers of vaccines, but has been forced to stop its exports due to the rise in infections. The Ministry of Health claims to have administered 90 million doses so far to a population of more than 1.3 billion.