NEW DELHI – India began the first human tests of a possible new coronavirus vaccine while the second most populous country in the world registered nearly 49,000 new infections.
New infections raised the national total of cases above 1.3 million on Saturday, with upturns in a quarter of the country's 36 states and territories.
India has confirmed 31,358 deaths, of which 757 occurred in the past 24 hours. It has reported a much lower death rate than the two nations worst hit by the pandemic, the United States and Brazil. According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States has more than 4.1 million cases and Brazil is close to 2.3 million.
The Institute of Medical Sciences of India, a major university hospital in the capital, New Delhi, said that on Friday, he administered the first dose of a vaccine tested for Covid-19.
The possible vaccine, Covaxin, is one of almost two dozen that are being tested on humans worldwide.
Countries are making big bets on various possible vaccines, closing purchase agreements with pharmaceutical companies to get the drug as long as the regulators determine that the doses are safe and effective.
South Korea also reported 113 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the first time that it exceeded 100 daily positive diagnoses in almost four months.
But the increase was predictable as the authorities contemplated a temporary rebound ral driven by imported infections found among merchant ship crews and the repatriation of hundreds of construction workers from Iraq.
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention South Korea brought the total number of infections to 14,092 in the country, including 298 deaths.
According to the Centers, 86 of the new cases were linked to international arrivals, while the remaining 27 were of local transmission. Among those imported were 36 South Korean workers who returned from Iraq and 32 crew members of a Russian-flagged merchant ship docked in the southern port of Busan.
The South Korean authorities consider the imported cases to be less of a threat than Local broadcasts are mandated that those arriving from abroad undergo a screening test and undergo a two-week quarantine.
In Australia, five more Victoria residents died from Covid-19 and the state confirmed 357 new infections in the last 24 hours. The region's prime minister, Daniel Andrews, on Saturday rejected ruling out the imposition of new restrictions, but pointed out that the strategy to stop the spread of the virus was the mandatory use of masks.
There are about 4,000 active cases in the state of coronaviruses, 313 of them in health personnel.
For its part, China reported 34 new cases of coronaviruses. Among the confirmed infections in the last 24 hours until midnight on Friday were five people who were infected abroad, said the National Health Commission. There were no new deaths.