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India's COVID-19 cases slow; Modi calls for more vaccinations

People wait to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses at one of the largest vaccination sites at Radhaswami Satsang in New Delhi, India, on May 4. Photo by Abhishek/UPI
People wait to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses at one of the largest vaccination sites at Radhaswami Satsang in New Delhi, India, on May 4. Photo by Abhishek/UPI | License Photo

May 15 (UPI) -- India reported 326,000 new cases Saturday, the lowest daily figure in about three weeks, according to the health ministry.

The country also reported 3,890 deaths over the previous 24-hour period as the outbreak - which has strained hospital resources and space - began to wane. Daily cases reached a peak of 414,000 and deaths hit more than 4,000 earlier this month.

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India has recored 24.37 million cases since the start of the pandemic - the second-highest of any country in the world - and 266,207 deaths. The United States has had the most cases and deaths, at 32.9 million and 585,238, respectively.

Worldwide, there were 718,000 new cases reported for Friday and 12,300 new deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 162 million confirmed cases and 3.36 million deaths.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a meeting on COVID-19 response Saturday, calling for increased testing in high positivity areas, preparing localized containment strategies and ramping up vaccinations.

According to the Johns Hopkins global tracker, India has administered 180 million doses, enough to give more than 10% of the population a single dose.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday called for wealthy countries to focus on helping vaccinating adults in countries with low vaccination rates before giving doses to children.

"I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate to Covax," he said, referring to the global initiative to provide equitable access to vaccines.

Worldwide, 1.42 billion doses of COVID-19 have been administered, according to Johns Hopkins.

Scenes from COVID-19 surge in India

Homeless and migrant laborers affected by the COVID-19 lockdown queue up to receive free cooked food distributed by Sikh volunteers in New Delhi, India, on May 18, 2021. Photo by Abhishek/UPI | License Photo

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