COVID-19 infections in India rose to the highest level in nearly six months, with the South Asian country reporting 3,016 new cases on Thursday.
The country is battling 13,509 active coronavirus cases meanwhile the death toll hit 530,863 after 14 fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours, according to information shared by the Indian Ministry of Health.
Home to 1.4 billion people, active cases now comprise 0.03 percent of total infections. The country has administered over two billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Amid the spike in cases, Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj has called for a high-level meeting of health department officials, medical directors and stakeholders, the Times of India reported.
The uptick is thought to be caused by the omicron variant called XBB 1.16, which is said to mostly affect vulnerable groups.
The World Health Organization tailored its COVID-19 vaccination recommendations on Tuesday for a new phase of the pandemic, suggesting that healthy children and adolescents may not necessarily need a shot but older, high-risk groups should get a booster between 6 to 12 months after their last vaccine.
The UN agency said the aim was to focus efforts on vaccinating those facing the greatest threat of severe disease and death from COVID-19, considering the high-level population immunity worldwide due to widespread infection and vaccination.
The health agency defined high-risk populations as older adults, as well as younger people with other significant risk factors. For this group, the agency recommends an additional shot of the vaccine either 6 or 12 months after the latest dose, based on factors such as age and immunocompromising conditions.