Mumbai prepares for lockdown as cases skyrocket

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India is set to plunge Mumbai, and the rest of the country's richest state, Maharashtra, into full lockdown at midnight on Wednesday until the end of April to contain the spread of COVID-19...

... as the country's cases hit a new record.

Maharashtra alone accounts for about a quarter of India's total coronavirus cases.

India reported 184,372 cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, taking total infections to 13.9 million. Deaths rose by 1,027.

After reporting less than 10,000 cases per day earlier this year, India has been the world's worst-hit country since April 2.

The government blames a widespread failure to heed curbs on movement and social interaction.

India on Tuesday said it will fast-track emergency approvals for COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Western countries and Japan, paving the way for possible imports of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna shots.

The move will exempt companies from carrying out local safety trials.

India has the biggest global vaccine manufacturing capacity and had exported tens of millions of doses before its own demand skyrocketed and led to a shortage in some states.

So far, the country has administered more than 108 million vaccine doses, sold more than 54.6 million vaccine doses abroad and gifted more than 10 million to partner countries.

It is currently using the AstraZeneca shot and a homegrown vaccine for its own immunization drive, as well as approving Russia's Sputnik V shot for emergency use earlier this week.

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