nURSE india vaccine
A nurse prepares to administer a shot of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine at Sola Civil hospital in Ahmedabad, India, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Image Credit: AP

New Delhi: India will widen its coronavirus vaccination campaign in the "near future" to include more people, instead of restricting it to those above age 45, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday.

The federal government has already announced everyone older than 45 will be eligible for vaccination from April 1. States have demanded that all adults be included as COVID-19 cases surge in the country.

Cases continue to rise

India reported 59,118 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, highest single-day spike since October, 2020, taking the total tally to 11.8 million on Friday. Cases have been increasing by large numbers for the past two weeks.

According to the Health Ministry, Maharashtra and Punjab are turning out to be the highest contributors to the new surge.

The central government is closely monitoring and actively engaging with states and union territories over the rising cases in the country.

With the death of 257 people in the last 24 hours, the fatality toll has reached 160,949 in India. The active caseload in the country has mounted to 421,066.