The number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases recorded on Wednesday stood at 44,281, which pushed the nationwide tally to 86,36,011, according to Union health ministry website.
The country also recorded 512 fresh fatalities in the last 24 hours and the death toll reached 1,27,571.
But, in a remarkable development, the number of active cases dropped below the five lakh-mark for the first time after 106 days, the health ministry said. The active cases in the country are 4,94,657.
“This assumes significance in the context of many countries reporting a surge in their active caseload,” it said on Wednesday morning. The ministry called it “unprecedented peak”.
On Tuesday, it had said that India has conducted the second highest number of tests for detection of Covid-19 cases in the world – at 11.96 crore – with rapid antigen tests comprising 49 per cent and RT-PCR 46 per cent of the total tests.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a press conference that the positivity rate is reducing and has come down to 7.18 per cent. The daily positivity rate in the last week was 4.2 per cent, he said.
“If we take into account the last two weeks’ figures, we are testing more than any other country in the world,” Bhushan said.
Bhushan further stated that India still figures among the countries having lowest cases per million population. While the world average of cases per million is 6,439, India has 6,225 cases per million.
He said that India recorded an average of three new Covid-19 deaths per million population in the last seven days as against the global average of seven new deaths per million population.
The health secretary, however, appealed that everyone should be cautious in the ongoing festival season and always wear face-cover or mask in the proper manner, maintain 6 feet distance from others and wash hands with soap and water frequently.