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India’s health ministry data showed on Thursday that 20,139 new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) were reported during the past 24 hours, taking the total tally to 43,689,989 in the country.

Indian Capital, Delhi, logged 490 new cases in the last 24 hours, and the active caseload currently stands at 136,076.

The country also logged 38 related deaths during the period, which has pushed the overall death toll to 525,557, the ministry said.

The daily positivity rate has risen to 5.10 per cent and the weekly positivity rate has increased to 4.37 per cent, the ministry data showed.

Meanwhile, the government announced Wednesday evening that all adults should be able to get free booster (precaution) doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at government centres under a special drive over the next 75 days.

The drive would start on Friday.

Health officials said the new move has been taken to increase vaccination coverage among the population in the wake of the detection of new variants.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed the hope that the decision for free COVID-19 precaution dose for all citizens above 18 years of age would further India’s vaccination coverage and create a healthier nation.

Reports said so far less than one per cent of the 18-59 age group had been administered the booster dose.

The detection of super contagious Omicron mutant BA.2.75 that has begun to gain ground in India has worried health officials.

There were fears that the new mutant might be able to spread rapidly and get around immunity from vaccines and previous infections.

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