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Covid vaccination based on ‘certain’ criteria, clarifies Centre


The revised guidelines will come into effect from June 21 and will be reviewed from time to time and these elements were included in the fresh guidelines for implementation of the National Covid vaccination programme.

Starting Tuesday, Covid-19 vaccine doses that are to be provided by the Central government to states and the Union Territories (UTs) free of cost will be allocated based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination.

The revised guidelines will come into effect from June 21 and will be reviewed from time to time and these elements were included in the fresh guidelines for implementation of the National Covid vaccination programme.

The Centre has made it clear that vaccination will be prioritized to Health Care Workers, Front Line Workers, citizens more than 45 years of age, citizens whose second dose has become due and citizens 18 years and above.

Within the population group of citizens more than 18 years of age, the guidelines mentioned, states and the UTs may decide their own prioritization factoring in the vaccine supply schedule.

The new guidelines came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared free vaccines to all aged above 18 years of age from June 21 with the Centre providing free vaccine doses to all states and UTs.

Among the main pointers of the guidelines, it is mentioned that the government of India will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers in the country.

The vaccines procured will continue to be provided free of cost to states and the UTs as has been the case from the commencement of the national vaccination programme. These doses will be administered by the states and the UTs free of cost to all citizens as per priority through government vaccination centres.

The Central government will provide states and UTs advance information of vaccine doses to be supplied to them, said the guideline, adding “states or UTs should similarly, further allocate doses well in advance to districts and vaccination centres”.

(With IANS inputs)




Haryana extends lockdown till June 14 – with relaxations


An order by Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan said the shopping hours for shopping complexes had been extended from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The timings for the shopping malls would be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Haryana government on Sunday extended the lockdown for another week till June 14 with major relaxations, including opening of restaurants, bars, clubs, religious places and extended shopping hours.

Besides, gatherings up to 50 persons have also been allowed.

An order by Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan said the shopping hours for shopping complexes had been extended from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The timings for the shopping malls would be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Similarly, the restaurants, bars and club houses would be allowed to open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with 50 per cent capacity.

Acting tough, the government order said the Covid appropriate behaviour, including social distancing and regular sanitation, would remain intact.




Nine states underutilised Covid-19 vaccines in first two phases: Central government data reveals


India went for vaccination against Covid-19 on 16 January.

Not less than nine states have reportedly underutilized doses of Covid-19 vaccine that was supplied to them between January and March, and which is said to have slackened the immunization drive, as per a central government data.

It came to light that about nine states- Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra and Delhi- failed to utilize the vaccine doses to their fullest which slowed down the immunization programme.

The data revealed Rajasthan used 5.7 million of the 10.6 million doses supplied to it in the three months while Punjab used approx. 840,000 of the 2.9 million doses it received. Chhattisgarh used 1.9 million doses of the 4.3 million supplied to it and Telangana utilised only 1.3 million of the 4.1 million doses it was given.

Andhra Pradesh gave out 2.6 million doses of the 6.6 million it received and Jharkhand managed to utilise about 1.6 million of the 3.1 million doses. In Kerala, 3.4 million shots were administered, while the total number of doses provided by the Centre was 6.3 million. Maharashtra used only 6.2 million doses of the 14.3 million provided by the Centre till March 31, and Delhi administered 2.4 million of the 4.4 million doses it was granted.

India went for vaccination against Covid-19 on 16 January. It began by vaccinating the healthcare and other frontline workers in its first two phases till 31 March. Thereafter, it included senior citizens and ones above 45 years of age with comorbidities.

The central government data revealed that the states concerned could not utilize the vaccine doses despite the Centre having provided “adequate” supply of the vaccine in January, February and March, a top government official, said, requesting anonymity. In the first two phases, the vaccines were provided by the central government free of cost.

“A few states have contributed disproportionately to the slowdown in the nationwide vaccination drive”. Some officials also criticized the demand made by states to decentralize the inoculation programme. “Now that the states are demanding that the process to buy vaccine doses be centralised, the Centre is considering steps in this regard.”




Over 1 lakh Covid cases in India, lowest spike since April 5


India’s overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 2,89,09,975 with 14,01,609 active cases and 3,49,186 deaths so far.

India on Monday logged 1,00,636 new Covid infections in 24 hours, 13,824 cases less than Sunday. This is also the lowest spike since April 5 when the country saw a rise of 96,982 cases in a day. During the same time span, 2,427 more people succumbed to the pandemic, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said.

On Sunday (June 6), India had reported 1,14,460 cases, lowest spike since April 6.

India’s overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 2,89,09,975 with 14,01,609 active cases and 3,49,186 deaths so far.Over the last few days, India’s fresh Covid cases have seen downward trend, maintaining over one lakh infections every 24 hours, while the deaths have also remained below the 3,000 mark. After battling a brutal second wave for weeks, fresh Covid cases came down below the three lakh-mark for the first time on May 17 after touching record high of 4,14,188 on May 7.

In the last three weeks, India has recorded over 90,000 deaths. India registered record fatalities due to Covid-19 on May 21 with 4,529 deaths — the highest from Covid infection in any country in a day since the coronavirus outbreak was reported in China’s Wuhan in December 2019. It surpassed 4,468 deaths in the US on January 12, and earlier 4,211 in Brazil on April 6.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 1,74,399 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total discharge to 2,71,59,180 till date.

The Health Ministry said that a total of 23,27,86,482 people have been vaccinated so far in the country, including 13,90,916 who were administered vaccines in the last 24 hours.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 36,63,34,111 samples have been tested up to June 6 for Covid-19. Of these 15,87,589 samples were tested on Sunday.




TN to vaccinate all Nilgiri advasis by June-end


The state’s Public Health Department in a statement on Sunday night said that it will get all the tribes of the district inoculated.

The Tamil Nadu government is planning to vaccinate all 21,493 Adivasis or tribals in the Nilgiri district by the end of this month.

The state’s Public Health Department in a statement on Sunday night said that it will get all the tribes of the district inoculated.

State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ma Subramaniam during his visit to Udhagamandalam on Sunday told reporters that of the 21,493 Adivasis in Nilgiri district, only 3,000 were vaccinated so far. The state aims to vaccinate all.

The Office of Public Health said that the minister had visited the tribal colony of Chemmanatham along with state Forest Minister K. Ramachandran, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan, and Nilgiri District Collector Innocent Divya.

Subramaniam told IANS: “Yes, I have visited Chemmanatham tribal settlement and have called upon the district administration to inoculate all the 172 tribal people living there.

“We have also planned a special drive to vaccinate all the Adivasi and tribal people and 18,000 doses of vaccine will be brought to the district for this to fulfill the June end deadline.”

The minister also said that the state has so far received 1.15 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses and another 42 lakh doses were expected in June.

The minister inspected the construction of the Government medical college and hospital and also the oxygen storage tank at Udhagamandalam.




Delhi govt provides Rs 1 Crore of Ex-gratia to family of deceased Covid warrior


Delhi’s Revenue Minister, Kailash Gahlot, handed over a cheque of Rs. 1 crore to the family of Jag Parvesh Dagar in Najafgarh.

Delhi government on Sunday provided ex-gratia sum for Covid warrior to the family of a frontline warrior who lost his life to the Covid-19 last year.

Delhi’s Revenue Minister, Kailash Gahlot, handed over a cheque of Rs. 1 crore to the family of Jag Parvesh Dagar in Najafgarh. The ex-gratia payment has been approved by the Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal in favour of the wife and father of the deceased.

Jag Parvesh Dagar, a resident of Najafgarh in Delhi, was a  lab technician in Chaudhary Brahm Prakash Ayurveda Charak Sansthan, Khera Darbar had died of Covid-19 in June 2020. The bereaved family consists of his father, wife and two children. He had joined the service as a lab technician on a contractual basis in 2012.

The Delhi Government last year announced that it will provide Rs. 1 Crore financial assistance to all frontline workers who got infected with Covid while on duty and passed away. Baljit Singh, father of the deceased after receiving the cheque thanked the Minister and the Delhi Government for helping the family in this time of distress.

“We are proud of all the Covid warriors who provided their service in this critical time. It is because of the dedication of these warriors that Delhi was able to fight the pandemic and save lives. I pray to God to give courage to the whole family,” the minister said.




Delhi Unlocks: Metro passengers break rules on Day 1


During metro rides from East Delhi’s Nirman Vihar metro station to Rajiv Chowk (in the bule line), and from Rajiv Chowk to INA Market (yellow line), despite regular announcements at metro stations that standing passengers were now allowed, rules were not followed.

On the very first day Delhi Metro rail services resumed its operations after nearly a month of complete suspension due to the raging second wave of Covid -19 pandemic, commuters on Monday were seen breaking norms put in place.

During metro rides from East Delhi’s Nirman Vihar metro station to Rajiv Chowk (in the bule line), and from Rajiv Chowk to INA Market (yellow line), despite regular announcements at metro stations that standing passengers were now allowed, rules were not followed.

Complying with Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s (DDMA) guidelines on Covid appropriate behaviour, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) started its services with 50 per cent seating capacity.

The government on Saturday announced that no passenger will be allowed to stand in metro coaches, however, many were seen breaking it on Monday.

Delhi has been under strict lockdown due to unprecedented surge in Covid cases since April 19. While, the metro services were completely suspended on May 10.

Now, as Covid cases and daily positivity rate continues to decline, the Delhi administration has started phase-wise unlocking exercise.

In the process for the second consecutive week, after permitting for construction and manufacturing/ factories since May 31, DDMA in its order issued on Saturday has allowed to open markets and malls in Delhi on alternate day (odd-even basis), which will be decided on the basis of shop’s number.

Apart from all these, Government and private offices will also reopen and to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour, Delhi police personnel have been deployed outside metro stations.

Umed Singh, a police official deployed at Connaught Place, said, “We have been directed to ensure that people do not assemble at one place and follow Covid guidelines. We have to make video of public movement.”




25mn doses: Who all get US vaccines and how much?


National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the US “will retain the say” on the ultimate destination for vaccines released through the COVAX pipeline.

Riding on strong vaccination numbers at home where more than 63 per cent of American adults have received at least one dose, US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday the US will donate 75 per cent of its unused Covid-19 vaccine stockpile to the United Nations-led COVAX global vaccine program which has delivered less than 80 million doses so far.

Here’s the breakdown of the numbers coming out of the White House: The first batch accounts for 25 million doses. Of that, 19 million will be earmarked for three regions: 6 million for South and Central America, 7 million for Asia and 5 million for Africa.

Within Asia, the allocated 7 million vaccines will go to India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, and the Pacific Islands.

The remaining 6 million will be divvied up between more than 15 countries: Mexico, Canada, South Korea, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Yemen, and United Nations frontline workers.

The initial 25 million doses will be a mix of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The White House also announced lifting restrictions on vaccines from AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Novavax – these three are not authorized for use in the US

The White House confirmed that 1 million Johnson & Johnson doses are headed to South Korea. More than 500,000 South Korean troops serve alongside American soldiers in the country. Mexico and Canada have already received a combined 4.5 million doses.

By the end of June 2021, the US plan is to share 80 million doses globally, mostly via COVAX. Biden plans to hold back about 25 per cent of the nation’s stock for domestic emergencies and for allies.

“As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable,” Biden said.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the US “will retain the say” on the ultimate destination for vaccines released through the COVAX pipeline.




India determined to bring Mehul Choksi back: MEA


Choksi was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to evade extradition to India.

India will continue to make all efforts to ensure that fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, an accused in the PNB fraud case, is brought back to the country to face justice, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said today.

”India remains steadfast in its efforts that fugitives are brought back to India. He (Choksi) is currently in the custody of Dominica with some legal proceedings underway. We will continue to ensure he is brought back to India to face justice,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.

He said Choksi was currently in the custody of the Dominican authorities.

Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on 23 May after going out for dinner and was soon caught in Dominica after Antigua police launched a manhunt for him.

Choksi was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to evade extradition to India.

A Dominican court on Thursday denied bail to Choksi. During the hearing, Dominican Judge Bernie Stephenson said the fugitive businessman must answer the charges of illegal entry into Dominica.




India looks forward to WHO’s approval for Covaxin: Foreign Secretary


Noting that vaccines have complex supply chains, he said India has worked to ease regulatory disruptions to these supply chains with key partners through diplomatic interventions.

India is looking forward to the WHO’s approval for its indigenous Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech and is in talks with major vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna about sourcing and possible local manufacture of their jabs in India, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said today.

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has applied to the WTO for the Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of its vaccine candidate Covaxin. However, the WHO has sought “more information” from Bharat Biotech on its EUL application.

Addressing the WHO’s “South-East Asia Regional Health Partners’ Forum on Covid-19”, Shringla also stated that India was working with several other countries in the WTO on a targeted and temporary waiver under TRIPS to ensure timely and secure access to vaccines for all.

Pointing out that India was fighting an exceptionally severe second wave of the pandemic, he said the country was simultaneously dealing with unprecedented economic and social disruptions and distress.

”Challenges of this nature require a response at multiple levels. Nationally, it requires not just a whole-of-government approach but a whole-of-society approach. It also requires us to source solutions and capacities on a global basis,” he said.

The Indian diplomat said India has, throughout the pandemic, identified and connected with potential suppliers of essential medicines, raw materials and medical equipment across the world. ”The effort to procure urgently needed medical supplies was reactivated during the second wave. We have been a vital part of a global effort to source Liquid Medical Oxygen, cryogenic ISO tankers, zeolites and essential medicines like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Amphotericin B.”

Noting that vaccines have complex supply chains, he said India has worked to ease regulatory disruptions to these supply chains with key partners through diplomatic interventions.

Shringla said India would participate in the process of creating global scale capacities that were needed to deal with pandemic scale challenges. A number of serious global conversations were underway on this in platforms such as the G7, the G20, QUAD, BRICS, the United Nations and the WHO itself.

Every crisis, he observed, was followed by growth. ”The same will happen as the pandemic ultimately wanes. We will participate fully in the international process of regeneration through building newer and more resilient supply chains, by focusing on newer technologies and knowledge-driven opportunities and leveraging India’s strengths and capacities,” he added.





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