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As many as 2,61,500 more people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative cases to 1,47,88,109, said the Union health ministry on Sunday morning.

The country has been reporting over two lakh new cases for the last four days.

A new variant, which has a so-called double mutation, is thought to be fueling India’s deadlier new wave of infections that has made it the world’s second worst-hit country.

Sixteen states and UTs -- Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Kerala, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal -- are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases, the ministry said on Saturday.

Among these, Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 63,729. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 27,360, and Delhi with 19,486 fresh cases.

The number of new fatalities has reached a record high too with 1,501 more people succumbing to the disease in the last 24 hours. With this, the cumulative death toll in the country has reached 1,77,150.

In addition to this, 1,38,423 have recuperated from the disease in the same duration, taking the total number of recoveries to 1,28,09,643.

The number of active cases now stands at 18,01,316, breaching the 18-lakh mark.

Tests conducted so far

India has until now tested 26,65,38,416 samples for Covid-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.

Out of these, 15,66,394 samples were tested on Saturday.

Shortage of oxygen, Remdesivir

Demands for increased supply of oxygen cylinders, vaccine doses and Remdesivir were raised by 11 states and UTs, including Delhi on Saturday.

In light of this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said all necessary measures must be taken to ramp up the availability of hospital beds for Covid-19 patient, and also asked local administrations to be proactive, sensitive to people's concerns.

He also reviewed the status of the supply of Remdesivir and other medicines and called for speeding up the installation of approved medical oxygen plants.

With many states reporting shortage and black marketing of remdesivir injection, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) said pharmaceutical companies have reduced the price following the government's intervention.

Drug companies like Cadila Healthcare, Dr Reddy's Laboratories and Cipla have cut the prices of their respective brands of remdesivir injection (100 mg/vial).

Vaccinations in India

The country has so far administered 12,26,22,590 anti-Covid doses.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country nearly reached 12 crore on Saturday.

The inoculation drive in India was rolled out on 16 January with HCWs getting inoculated and the vaccination of the FLWs started on 2 February.

The next phase of Covid-19 vaccination commenced on 1 March for those who are above 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified comorbid conditions.

India extended the drive to include everybody aged 45 last week.

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