India on Saturday reported 3,26,098 new Covid cases and 3,890 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which makes it the 23rd consecutive day with more than 3 lakh cases daily and 17th day with more than 3,000 deaths daily.

On Wednesday, India's Covid deaths peaked at 4,205, the highest reported ever, while on May 7, the country had recorded its highest ever cases of 4,14,188. The country's total tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 2,43,72,907 with 36,73,802 active cases and 2,66,207 deaths so far.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 3,53,299 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, with 2,04,32,898 being cured of Covid till date, while on the vaccination front the figure failed to move significantly in the entire month of May due to severe vaccine shortage.


Vaccine shortage

The Health Ministry said that a total of 18,04,57,579 people have been vaccinated so far in the country, including 11,03,625 who were administered vaccines in the last 24 hours. Out of this, 3,25,071 beneficiaries of the age group 18-44 years received their first dose of COVID vaccine on Friday and cumulatively 42,55,362 across 32 States/UTs since the start of Phase-3 of the vaccination drive. 

Under the Centre's quota wherein 50% of the available doses are earmarked for supply to States/UTs, 191.99 lakh doses of Covishield and Covaxin will be supplied from May 16 to May 31. This will include 162.5 lakh of Covishield and 29.49 lakh of Covaxin, said the ministry in a statement.

India's neighbours on alert

As India struggles under the weight of a massive surge of COVID-19, many of its neighbours in South Asia and Southeast Asia are experiencing some of their largest outbreaks yet, reported Nature.

The surge in Covid cases is seen in Bhutan, despite 62% of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine. In far off Laos, which has previously had very few cases the outbreak is seen now, though very small compared to India's, reported Nature.

Meanwhile, researchers in the region are making an effort to quickly scale up their limited sequencing capacities to identify whether India's epidemic — fuelled by variants such as B.1.617 — is spilling over into their communities, or if their outbreaks have origins elsewhere.