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India ramps up vaccines as daily cases hit 100,000

India ramps up vaccines as daily cases hit 100,000

India has stepped up its coronavirus vaccination drive amid a deadly second wave of infections.

The country on Sunday breached the 100,000 daily caseload mark for the first time since the pandemic began.

Everyone above the age of 45 is now eligible for the jab. Some states are also targeting specific groups like bank workers and lawyers.

Nearly 80 million doses have been given so far, mostly to frontline workers and people above the age of 60.

The northern states of Uttar Pradesh has announced that it will run special vaccination drives for journalists, bank employees and lawyers. Neighbouring Uttarakhand state is also planning similar targeted drive.

The world's biggest inoculation drive aims to cover 250 million people by July, but experts say the pace needs to pick up further to meet the target.

The third phase - which began on 1 April - opened amid a sharp uptick in Covid-19 cases.

On Sunday, India became the second country after the US to report 100,000 new cases in a single day. More than half of those were confirmed in Maharashtra, which has India's largest city Mumbai as its capital.

India's caseload had dropped sharply by the time it began vaccinating people early this year. It was adding under 15,000 infections daily. But cases began to spike again in March, largely driven by poor test-and-trace and lax safety protocols.

Experts say India's second wave is being fuelled by people being less cautious - and mixed messaging by the government.

Since the pandemic began, India has confirmed more than 12 million cases and over 165,000 deaths.

It's the third-highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world after the United States and Brazil.

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