NEW DELHI 

Daily coronavirus cases in India hit a record high on Friday, breaching the 20,000 mark for the first time since the country’s first cases in January.

With 20,903 new infections and 379 fatalities over the past 24 hours, India’s overall case count climbed to 625,544 as the death toll reached 18,213.

Recoveries are now up to 379,892, raising the country’s recovery rate to 60.73% from 59.43%.

The number of active cases across the country stands at 227,439, according to health authorities.

The western state of Maharashtra, India’s hardest hit region, also saw a record jump in infections, with 6,330 new cases pushing its total up to 186,626.

It is followed by Tamil Nadu, where the case count reached 98,392 with a record surge of 4,343.

Delhi is now in third spot with 92,175 cases, after 2,373 more people tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.

With an increasing number of people with no symptoms testing positive for the virus, India’s Health Ministry has revised its home isolation guidelines to include asymptomatic positive patients in the list of mild or pre-symptomatic infection cases.

2nd indigenous vaccine trial

On Thursday, Indian authorities gave the go-ahead for human trials of the country’s second locally produced COVID-19 vaccine.

The Phase I and Phase II human clinical trials of the vaccine, developed by pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila, will start this month.

This is the second vaccine made in India approved for trials, after the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has confirmed that it is fast-tracking efforts for production of COVAXIN, aiming to launch the vaccine no later than August 15, India’s Independence Day.

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