734 Indian doctors died of COVID-19

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India’s main association of physicians, on Thursday, said more than four times as many doctors had died than the government has said.

This is as the country ramps up vaccination of health-care professionals in its bid to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association said that 734 doctors had died from the disease and not 162 as the government informed the parliament.

Doctors and front-line health workers have borne the brunt of the pandemic in the country of 1.3 billion which has seen 10.8 million infections, second only to the United States and 154,703 deaths.

Around 45 per cent of the targeted 9.6 million health care professionals had been given the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine between Jan. 17 and Feb. 2.

It was critical that all of them came forward to take the vaccine, Health Ministry officials said at a weekly briefing.

The latest countrywide survey for COVID-19 antibodies has revealed that about 21.5 per cent of the adult population had been exposed to the virus, according to the country’s top medical research body.

The Indian Council of Medical Research survey covered more than 35,000 individuals across 21 states between Dec. 17, 2020, and Jan. 8.

“This indicates that a large population is still vulnerable,’’ VK Paul, who heads the federal government’s COVID-19 task force, said.

Paul said given the trajectory of the disease in countries like the U.S., Britain, Germany and Russia, where there were second or multiple waves, it was essential for people to come and take the vaccine as well as to continue following all precautions.

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India, since early January, has consistently reported a downward trend of new infections and deaths. (dpa/NAN)

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