NEW DELHI — New coronavirus cases in India hit a record Thursday at 126,789, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi got his second shot and urged others to follow suit, saying “vaccination is among the few ways we have to defeat the virus.”
India started its vaccination drive in January. So far, more than 90 million health workers and those over 45 have received at least one shot. Only 11 million have received both doses as India tries to build immunity to protect its nearly 1.4 billion people.
Dozens of cities and towns are imposing night curfews to try to contain the surge but the federal government has refused to impose a second nationwide lockdown for fear of hurting the economy.
Fatalities rose 685 in the past 24 hours, the highest since November. The western state of Maharashtra, the worst hit in the country, accounted for nearly 47% of new infections. Overall, India has recorded nearly 167,000 COVID-19 deaths.