New Delhi, April 20:

India reported 2,59,170 new Covid-19 cases and 1,761 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to data from the Union Health Ministry. The total cases in the country now stand at 1,53,21,089. There are 20,31,977 active cases in the country at present while 1,31,08,582 people have recovered from the disease. The death toll is at 1,80,530. As many as 12,71,29,113 people have been vaccinated so far.

The US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised its citizens to avoid travelling to India. In its advisory, the CDC stated that there is “very high level of covid-19” in India. Britain has also added India to its COVID-19 travel “red list”, which bans all travel from the country and makes a 10-day hotel quarantine mandatory for UK residents returning to the country.

Meanwhile, the government on Monday announced that every person above the age of 18 years will be eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19 from May 1. The announcement, one of four significant shifts in the government’s vaccination policy, came at the end of a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the backdrop of a relentless surge in coronavirus cases. Apart from this, vaccine manufacturers will be incentivised to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players. Vaccine manufacturers will be empowered to release up to 50% of their supply to state government and in the open market at a pre-declared price.

The Union Health Ministry Monday said Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan are among the 10 states that account for 78.58 per cent of the new Covid-19 cases reported in a day. The other states in the list of 10 are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Also, within hours of Delhi announcing a weeklong lockdown to tackle the second Covid surge, and despite an appeal from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a familiar scene from last year played out at the national capital’s bus terminals and railway stations — hundreds of migrant workers lining up to leave for home.