Some Indian states said on Sunday they would prolong COVID-19 lockdowns to help curb the pandemic, which has killed more than 270,000 people in the country, as the federal government promised to bolster vaccine supplies.
The government said it would send an additional 5.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to states over the next three days.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours in India has surged more than 4,000 for the fourth time in a week, with Sunday’s 311,170 new infections representing the lowest single-day rise in more than three weeks.
Federal health officials warned against any complacency over a “plateauing” in the rise of infections, however, and encouraged states to add intensive care units and strengthen their medical workforces.
The northern states of Delhi and Haryana extended lockdowns, slated to end on Monday, by a week.
“The gains we have made over the past week, we don’t want to lose them. So we are going to extend the lockdown for another week,” Kejriwal told reporters.
The southern state of Kerala, which has previously applied a lockdown extension, also introduced stricter restrictions in some districts on Saturday. People not wearing masks or violating quarantine protocols are being arrested, with drones used to help identify violators.
Even though India is the world’s largest vaccine-producing nation, only 141.6 million people have received at least one vaccine dose, or roughly 10 percent of its population of 1.35 billion, according to health ministry data.
The country has fully vaccinated just over 40.4 million people, or 2.9 percent of its population.
India’s supply of vaccine doses should rise to 516 million by July, and more than 2 billion between August to December, boosted by domestic production and imports, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said. The country received 60,000 more doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia on Sunday.