India hits 10 million COVID cases but pace slows

India has reached 10 million reported infections of the new coronavirus on Saturday (December 19).

It’s much later than predicted as the pace of infections slows, despite many in the country giving up on masks and social distancing.

India is the second worst affected country in the world.

It hit a peak of nearly 98,000 daily reported cases in mid-September, but then daily infections slowed this month.

This helped widen its gap with the world's worst-hit country -- the United States -- which has more than 16 million cases.

India expects to roll out vaccines soon and is considering emergency-use requests for three types, developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and local company Bharat Biotech.

Some health experts say the fall in cases suggests many Indians may have already developed virus antibodies through natural infection.

The national capital territory of Delhi said on Saturday its third and the worst surge in cases has now ended.

A government-appointed panel tasked with making projections has estimated that 60% of India's 1.35 billion people have already been infected with the virus.