Top Indian ministers warded as virus cases breach 50,000 for fifth day
BENGALURU : India's interior minister and the chiefs of two big states have been hospitalised with Covid-19 as the country's daily cases topped 50,000 for a fifth straight day yesterday.
The country reported 52,972 new confirmed infections in 24 hours, taking its total to 1.8 million, the third highest in the world after the US and Brazil, data from India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed yesterday.
With 771 new deaths, Covid-19 has now killed 38,135 people in India, including a minister on Sunday in the most-populous state of Uttar Pradesh.
Technical Education Minister Kamla Rani Varun, 62, died in a healthcare facility in Lucknow, days after testing positive for Covid-19, the government said.
She had been receiving treatment, said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while delivering his condolence message.
Also on Sunday, federal Interior Minister Amit Shah, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's closest aides, as well as Karnataka state chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, were hospitalised.
The chief of the central state of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan is also recovering in hospital.
Mr Shah, 55, said he had got himself tested after exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.
"My health is fine but I am being hospitalised on the advice of doctors," he added.
A ministry spokesman said he was unable to immediately comment on when Mr Shah had last met Mr Modi.
It was also not immediately clear whether Mr Shah's Cabinet colleagues, including the finance minister, had isolated themselves.
As infections continue to surge in the country, having registered a record of 57,118 on Saturday, India has also stepped up efforts to test more people and search for a vaccine.
The Health Ministry said on Twitter that the country's drugs authorities had allowed the Serum Institute of India, the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, to conduct clinical trials of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. - REUTERS