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India has logged more than 50,000 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus, officials said Monday, making it the fourth country to cross the bleak milestone.

Fatalities from the pandemic passed the 50,000 mark with over 900 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said.

India, a country of 1.3 billion, has the fourth highest number of Covid-19 deaths after the United States, Brazil and Mexico, data from Johns Hopkins University showed.

But fewer patients were dying in India compared to the rest of the world as the fatality rate at 1.9 per cent was lower than the global average of 3.5 per cent, the ministry said.

“USA crossed 50,000 deaths in 23 days, Brazil in 95 days and Mexico in 141 days. India took 156 days to reach this national figure,” the ministry said, adding it was focusing on effective clinical management of cases.

India also has registered over 2.6 million cases with 57,981 new infections since Sunday. It has reported the highest number of daily cases globally for nearly a fortnight.

The government maintains the situation is improving with a recovery rate at 72.5 per cent but the low testing rate has drawn criticism from health experts.

Premier Narendra Modi in his address on India’s Independence Day on Saturday said three coronavirus vaccines were at different stages of testing in India and the government will ensure that a vaccine, when approved, reaches every Indian.

Worldwide, the death toll stands at more than 775,000 with over 21.6 million people being affected, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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