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India says it has contained spread of Covid-19

NEW DELHI India said yesterday it had curbed an increase in Covid-19 infections, with a fifth of its districts reporting no new cases for a week, even as its immunisation campaign has covered 2.4 million people.

The country of 1.35 billion has seen the highest number of cases in the world after the US, though the rate of infection has come down significantly since a mid-September peak. Some studies suggest pockets of India have attained herd immunity through natural infection.

"India has successfully contained the pandemic," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, noting that fewer than 12,000 cases were reported in the past 24 hours.

He said 146 of India's 718 districts have had no new cases for a week and 18 districts for two weeks.

"India has flattened its Covid-19 graph," Dr Vardhan added.

With infections falling, the government said that from Feb 1 it would lift curbs on the use of public swimming pools, allow cinema halls and theatres to seat more than 50 per cent of capacity and let all types of exhibition halls to operate.

India started its Covid-19 immunisation programme on Jan 16, with the aim to reach 300 million people by July-August.

India has so far reported around 10.7 million infections and more than 153,800 deaths - one of the lowest fatality rates from the disease, attributed partly to its younger population. - REUTERS

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