India’s death toll crossed the 96,000 mark early Tuesday as the country recorded 70,589 new COVID-19 cases and 776 more deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry data.

The national toll of confirmed infections exceeded 6.14 million, including 96,318 deaths with a 1.57% mortality rate.

More than 5.1 million patients have recovered from the disease in the country, 84,877 in the last 24 hours, pushing the recovery rate to 83.01%.

The total number of active cases in the country has gone down to 947,576 as the recovered patients exceeded active cases by 4.15 million.

The fourth phase of the COVID-19 lockdown is scheduled to end on Wednesday, after which the central government is likely to announce “Unlock-5” the following day on Oct. 1.

Over 77% of the new recovered cases are registered in 10 states and union territories, with the western state of Maharashtra continuing to top the list. It has alone contributed more than 19,000 cases followed by the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka with more than 7,000 cases each in the last 24 hours, confirmed the Health Ministry.

Restaurants in Maharashtra, the worst-affected state in the country, will re-open starting Thursday. The state currently has 1.3 million total confirmed cases and 35,751 deaths.

On Monday, the Indian Council of Medical Research launched a dedicated portal for vaccine development and the national clinical registry for COVID-19.

“The portal provides important information related to vaccine development, ongoing clinical trials, and progress made in this area locally and globally at regular intervals. Today, in the times of COVID, vaccine development is watched very closely. Thus, it becomes important to showcase the status of vaccine development in the country, ”said Harsh Vardhan, the country’s union health minister.

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