India on Thursday recorded a new all-time high of more than 126,000 coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, with Maharashtra continuing to be the nation’s worst-hit state, according to official figures.
The Health Ministry said that 126,789 cases were registered across the country, taking the total number of infections to 12.92 million. The death toll reached 166,862, including 685 new fatalities.
According to the statistics, Maharashtra continues to be the worst affected, with the state alone recording nearly 60,000 new cases.
The new record for cases in Maharashtra has come amid the state government saying that they are short of vaccines, a claim rejected by the Indian government.
“We have stocks for three days, and it will get exhausted. There are many [COVID-19 vaccination] centers where we are running out of stocks and we have to tell senior citizens that come the next day because there are no vaccines available,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said late Wednesday. “It is not our fault. If we are moving at a higher pace, we require a larger amount of vaccines.”
Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, however, rejected the vaccine shortage report.
“This is nothing but an attempt to divert attention from the Maharashtra government’s repeated failures to control the spread of the pandemic. The inability of the Maharashtra government to act responsibly is beyond comprehension,” a statement by Vardhan said.
“To spread panic among the people is to compound the follies further…Allegations of a vaccine shortage are utterly baseless.”
With cases continuing to surge in many parts of the country, authorities have announced strict restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, with several cities in India announcing night curfews.
India is currently the third most affected country in the world in terms of infections after the US and Brazil. The country launched its vaccination drive on Jan. 16 this year. According to the available figures, over 80 million people have received their first dose so far.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday morning got the second dose of a vaccine.
Confirming it on Twitter, Modi wrote that “vaccination is among the few ways we have to defeat the virus” and “if you are eligible for the vaccine, get your shot soon.”