India Records 9,102 Fresh Covid-19 Cases in 24 Hours, Lowest in Over 7 Months; Fatalities Also Dip

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India reported 9,102 fresh coronavirus cases in a day, the lowest in around eight months, as the infection tally reached 1,06,76,838, according to Union Health Ministry data on Tuesday. During the same period, 117 fatalities were recorded, also the lowest in over eight months, taking the death toll to 1,53,587. India had reported a single-day rise of 8,909 cases on June 3 and 103 deaths on May 16.

According to the health ministry, 1,03,45,985 people have recuperated from the disease so far pushing the national COVID-19 recovery rate to 96.90 per cent. The case fatality rate stood at 1.44 per cent. There are 1,77,266 active cases of coronavirus infections in the country which comprises 1.66 per cent of the total cases reported so far. It was for the seventh consecutive day that the active caseload remaind below 2 lakh.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 19,30,62,694 samples have been tested for COVID-19 detection up to January 25 with 7,25,577 of them being tested on Monday.

The drop in daily cases comes as India vaccinated 20 lakh people till Monday - day 10 of what the government calls the world's largest vaccination drive that was launched on January 16. Over the next few months, India hopes to vaccinate a significant section of its population - 3 crore health and frontline workers in phase 1.

The Centre on Monday instructed States and Union Territories in a letter to take penal action against those spreading misinformation about the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines currently in circulation. Any such persons or organisations should be punished under the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code, it said.

Concerned that "unfounded and misleading rumours" are circulating in the social media and creating doubt about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, Bhalla stated that there was a need to check such scare mongering.

"I would like to strongly emphasize that the National Regulatory Authority in the country has found both the vaccines safe and immunogenic" the letter stated. The Centre was also concerned over "rumour mongering by vested interests" , which could create doubts among the people at large. The letter further urged the state governments to counter the spread of misinformation and also disseminate factual messages.

The Disaster Management Act 2005 was implemented during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic across the country. Sections of the law have provisions for punishment for making false claims. For issuing false warnings, there could be imprisonment for a year or fines.