NEW DELHI — India’s daily coronavirus infections have dipped below 100,000 for the first time in more than two months as an overall downturn prompts some states to ease restrictions.
The 86,498 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total past 29 million on Tuesday, second only to the United States, which has more than 33 million. The Health Ministry also reported 2,123 new fatalities in the past 24 hours, raising the overall death toll to 351,309. Both figures are believed to be vast undercounts.
India peaked at adding more than 400,000 cases a day in May, but new infections and deaths have declined across the country since then.
The downturn has led some states to ease restrictions on commercial activities to spur consumption. Multiple states have, however, extended lockdowns and have been reluctant to reopen.
Meanwhile, the federal government is going to take over vaccine procurement from the states and ensure vaccines are provided free of cost to every adult Indian. India’s vaccination drive has been marred by delays and shortages. Less than 5% of the population is fully vaccinated.