The third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive for people aged above 45 (even without co-morbidities) will start from Thursday, April 1. Phase three of the coronavirus immunisation programme has come at a time when the country's daily COVID-19 figures are rising exponentially, breaking new records almost every day.
According to the latest data on vaccination by the Union Health Ministry, a total of 6,24,08,333 vaccine doses have been given as of March 30. Of the 6.24 crore vaccine doses, 1.3 crore have been administered to healthcare workers and 1.2 crore to frontline workers.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated and vaccination of the frontline workers starting on February 2. From March 1, the vaccination began for people above 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
India is currently witnessing a continuous surge in its daily coronavirus cases. The upswing started around mid-February but is not uniform across all states and regions. As per the health ministry, there are five states cumulatively accounting for over 79 per cent of the total COVID-19 active cases in the country. Of which, Maharashtra alone accounts for more than 61 per cent of the active caseload. Apart from Maharashtra, the four other states where the active COVID-19 case count has soared are Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, and Chhattisgarh.
India's total active caseload has reached 5,52,566. It now comprises 4.55 per cent of the country's total positive cases.
However, states and union territories like Rajasthan, Assam, Odisha, Ladakh (UT), Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Manipur, Tripura, Sikkim, Lakshadweep, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Andaman, and Nicobar Islands, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh have not reported any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Separately, the central government has said that the coronavirus situation is turning from "bad to worse" and is a huge cause for worry, especially for some states. The Centre cautioned all the states and union territories that the current surge in COVID-19 cases could swamp the health infrastructure unless urgent measures were taken.
On March 31, 53,480 fresh coronavirus cases were reported, pushing the total caseload to 1,21,49,335. Meanwhile, a total of 1,62,468 people have died from the disease, as per the government data until March 31. The recovery rate has dropped to 94.11 per cent, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.34 per cent.