New Delhi: Giving a piece of good news, the Centre on Thursday said India has curbed the Covid-19 infections as one fifth of its districts had reported not a single new case for a week now. The development comes at a time when the vaccination derive has covered 2.4 million people. The news will certainly bring cheers on the faces of the people as the country of 1.35 billion has recorded the highest number of cases in the world after the United States, though the rate of infection has come down significantly since a mid-September peak. However, some studies have suggested pockets of India have attained herd immunity through natural infection. Also Read - Coronavirus in Mumbai: Siddhivinayak Temple to Shut Entry For Those Without Online Registration

“India has successfully contained the pandemic,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, noting that fewer than 12,000 cases were reported in the past 24 hours. He further added that 146 of India’s 718 districts have had no new cases for a week and 18 districts for two weeks. “India has flattened its COVID-19 graph,” Vardhan added. Also Read - Coronavirus: Amid Rising Cases, BMC Shuts Mumbai's Iconic Oval Maidan From Tomorrow

To bring the pandemic under control, India started its COVID-19 immunisation programme on January 16, with the aim to reach 300 million people by July-August. Also Read - West Bengal Makes Negative RT-PCR Report Must on Arrival For Passengers From 4 States

The country has so far reported 1.07 crore infections and 1,53,847 deaths – one of the world’s lowest fatality rates from the disease, attributed partly to its younger population.

Thyrocare Technologies Ltd, one of India’s top-three diagnostic chains, told news agency Reuters that antibody tests it had done on more than 700,000 people showed that 55 per cent of the country’s population may have already been infected.

On the other hand, the World Health Organization says at least 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the population needs to have immunity to break the chain of transmission.

As the coronavirus infections are coming down, the Centre said that from February 1 it would lift curbs on the use of public swimming pools, allow cinema halls and theatres to seat more than 50% of capacity and let all types of exhibition halls to operate.

A top Indian vaccine official had earlier said that he did not think India had reached that level yet, but that even a smaller percentage could help slow the spread of the virus.

“Most of our highly populated districts and cities have had their run of the pandemic by now, and may have what you like to call herd immunity, to an extent,” Vinod Kumar Paul, who heads a committee on vaccine strategy, said earlier this month.