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India adds 61,800 new cases, 1,033 deaths

An elderly Hindu offers prayers at the Vindhyavasini temple in Mirzapur in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India has added 61,871 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to about 7.5 million.

    The Health Ministry on Sunday also registered 1,033 new fatalities, taking the death toll to 114,031.

    The country is continuing a downward trend in new cases, but virus-related fatalities jumped after recording the lowest daily figure of 680 in nearly three months on Friday.

    Some experts say India's numbers may not be reliable because of poor reporting and inadequate health infrastructure. India is also relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.

    Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked officials to prepare cold storage chains and distribution network for vaccine delivery along the lines of conducting elections, involving all levels of government and citizen groups.

    According to Indian officials, three vaccines are in advanced stages of development.

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