COVID-19: India seeks vaccine imports amid soaring cases

India said it will fast-track emergency approvals for COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Western countries and Japan after the country witnessed the world’s biggest surge in cases this month.

Since April 2, India has reported the highest daily tallies of infections. It reported almost 162,000 cases on Tuesday, taking the total to 13.7 million, while deaths rose to over 171,000.

Besides the ongoing religious gathering Kumbh Mela, the spike in cases is also attributed to mass election rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party and opposition groups during polls in four states and one federally run region.

The jump in India’s infections, for which Health Minister Harsh Vardhan acknowledged a failure to heed curbs on movement and social interaction, has prompted calls for the government to cancel large public events.

India’s richest state Maharashtra accounts for about a quarter of the country’s cases.

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