An employee sanitises a coach as the metro network prepares to resume services in Mumbai on Oct 17, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Punit Paranjpe)

NEW DELHI - AP
India confirms 61,800 new COVID-19 cases, more than 1,000 deaths

India has confirmed 61,871 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to about 7.5 million.

The Health Ministry on Sunday (Oct 18) also registered 1,033 new fatalities, taking the death toll to 114,031.

The country is continuing a downward trend in new cases, but virus-related fatalities jumped after recording the lowest daily figure of 680 in nearly three months on Friday.

Some experts say India’s numbers may not be reliable because of poor reporting and inadequate health infrastructure. India is also relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.

Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked officials to prepare cold storage chains and distribution network for vaccine delivery along the lines of conducting elections, involving all levels of government and citizen groups.

According to Indian officials, three vaccines are in advanced stages of development.

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