Coronavirus India Highlights: The World Health Organisation on Sunday welcomed India’s decision giving emergency use authorisation to COVID-19 vaccines, saying it will help “intensify” and “strengthen” its fight against the ongoing pandemic. “WHO welcomes the first emergency use authorization given to COVID-19 vaccine in the WHO South-East Asia Region. This decision taken today by India will help intensify and strengthen the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the Region,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the regional director, WHO South-East Asia Region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday called DCGI’s emergency approval for 2 vaccines in India a “decisive turning point” for the country’s vaccine development and expressed gratitude to all frontline workers for their “outstanding” work in fighting against the virus. “It would make every Indian proud that the two vaccines that have been given emergency use approval are made in India! This shows the eagerness of our scientific community to fulfill the dream of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, at the root of which is care and compassion,” Modi said on Twitter.
The DCGI in its presser on Sunday gave nod to the “emergency restricted” approval for two vaccine candidates in India, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Oxford-Astrazeneca’s Covishield. The drug controller said that it is paying close attention to the increasing cases of UK’s Covid-19 new strain in the country and was prioritising its threat while conducting clinical trials.
India recorded 18,177 new Covid cases in the 24 hours ending 8 am Sunday, taking the total number of infections to over 1.03 crore. Active cases further dropped to 2.47 lakh, while recoveries continued to rise and stand at over 99.27 lakh. A total of 217 deaths were reported on Saturday, the toll currently stands at over 1.49 lakh. Covid-19 testing on the first two days of the new year have been below one million. Only three states reported more than 1,000 cases on Saturday, but Kerala is still reporting over 5,000 cases. With 5,327 new cases on Saturday, Kerala has so far recorded over 7.71 infections.
A dry run to check the best way to administer Covid-19 vaccine and plug loopholes in logistics and training was held across all states on Saturday. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the process in GTB Hospital in Delhi and said the government would not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. He appealed to people not to be misguided by rumours regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines.