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India reports 267,334 new coronavirus infections, deaths rise by 4,529

India reports 267,334 new coronavirus infections, deaths rise by 4,529
May 19, 2021

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India reported on Wednesday 267,334 new coronavirus infections over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose by a record 4,529.

The South Asian nation's tally stands at 25.5 million, with a death toll of 283,248, health ministry data showed.

On the other hand, India is unlikely to resume major exports of COVID-19 vaccines until at least October as it diverts shots for domestic use, three government sources said, a longer-than-expected delay set to worsen supply shortages from the global COVAX initiative.

The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's biggest vaccine maker producing the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) vaccine, responded by saying that it hoped to restart deliveries to COVAX and other countries by the end of this year.

"We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines at the cost of the people of India and remain committed to do everything we can in the support of the vaccination drive in the country," SII said in a statement.

Battling the world's biggest jump in coronavirus infections, India halted vaccine exports a month ago after donating or selling more than 66 million doses. The move has left countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and many in Africa scrambling for alternate supplies.

The World Health Organization, which co-leads COVAX, on Monday called on vaccine makers outside India to advance supplies to the programme given the shortfall from the South Asian country.

The sources, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to talk to media on the subject, said India's vaccination drive will now take priority as its tally of coronavirus infections crosses 25 million and daily death toll hits a record high.

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