NEW DELHI

India registered 64,553 new COVID-19 cases and 1,007 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to official data Friday.

The country of over 1.3 billion people tested 848,728 samples of the coronavirus Thursday — the highest in a single day — as the infection continued to mount steadily. In total, India has performed 27.69 million tests, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The Health Ministry said: “WHO has advised 140 tests per day per million population. 34 India States and Union Territories have exceeded this requirement.” The overall tally in India stood at 2,461,190, while the death toll hit 48,040.

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday said India will be one of the nations to produce a vaccine for coronavirus and the process will require a “clearly-defined” strategy.

In a tweet, he said: “The government of India must do it now. It needs a clearly-defined, inclusive and equitable vaccine access strategy ensuring availability, affordability and fair distribution. GOI [Government of India] must do it now.”

On Thursday, the head of the Ram temple trust, who shared a stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch construction of the temple a few days ago, tested positive for the coronavirus. The 82-year-old Hindu priest, Nritya Gopal Das, was admitted to a hospital after he complained of breathlessness.

Meanwhile, Zydus Cadila launched the cheapest generic version of Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir in India to treat COVID-19 following reports of shortages at hospitals in the world’s third-worst hit nation. Zydus has priced it at Rs2,800 ($37.44) per 100mg vial, the company said in a statement.

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