Updated: April 1, 2021 10:04:43 pm
The third phase of Covid-19 vaccination, which covered everyone above the age of 45 years, was kicked off on Thursday with the Centre deciding to conduct the drive on all days of April, including gazetted holidays, and at all public and private centres. The Union government wrote to all the states and union territories and asked them to make necessary arrangements for this, the Health Ministry said.
Aimed at expanding the vaccination drive exponentially in India, this step was taken after detailed deliberations with the states and UTs on March 31, the ministry said. “This decision is in line with the graded and pro-active approach employed by the government of India along with the states and UTs for COVID-19 vaccination,” it added. The vaccination exercise will continue to be regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level, it mentioned.
More than 6.5 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far to frontline workers, healthcare workers, those above 60 and for people aged above 45 with specified co-co-morbid conditions.
India records year’s highest single-day rise with 72,330 cases
On Thursday, India reported this year’s highest single-day rise of 72,330 new infections in a span of 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally of cases to 1,22,21,665.
India reported over 72,000 Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours ending 9 am on Thursday, the highest daily spike since October 11, 2020. Maharashtra accounted for 39,544 of the total 72,330 new infections, the state’s highest tally so far. Chhattisgarh recorded 4,563 cases while Karnataka’s cumulative count exceeded 1 million with 4,234 new infections, of which 2,906 were recorded in Bengaluru alone.
According to the health ministry, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh continue to show a steep rise in the COVID daily new cases accounting for 84.61 per cent of the new cases reported in a span of 24 hours. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Punjab cumulatively account for 78.9 per cent of the total active cases in the country. Maharashtra alone accounts for more than 61 per cent of the active caseload of the country.
Sri Lanka, Africa claim delay in vaccine supplies from India
Sri Lanka will not receive its due of a million doses of Covishield vaccine from the vaccine manufacturing company Serum Institute of India (SII) within the timeline earlier pledged, the Sunday Times reported on Thursday.
“We are unable to meet that commitment, leave alone in mid-March and April,” a top source from the Pune-based Institute told The Sunday Times on conditions of anonymity. “This (agreement) is one of several additional capacities we were to fulfil on behalf of AstraZeneca and the Indian government. The fire did not affect production as such, but due to increasing commitments, we need to ramp up our capacity. Hence this delay.”
Africa CDC also alleged that the delays in vaccine supply from India could be ‘catastrophic’. Africa may not be able to meet its targets for immunising the continent against COVID-19 if supply delays from a key Indian manufacturer continue, the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Briefing the media, Dr John Nkengasong said that the officials hope the problems at the Serum Institute of India will only be temporary otherwise it would definitely impact the continuity in the vaccination drive in Africa. “I really want to deliberately hope that it is a delay not a ban “because that would be catastrophic,” he said.
Delhi schools to remain closed for all classes in new academic session till further orders
Following a surge in coronavirus cases in the national capital, the Delhi government Thursday announced that students of any class should not be called to attend schools physically in the new academic session till further orders.
The Directorate of Education (DoE) said that the teaching and learning activities may commence from April 1 for students through digital mode for the academic session 2021-22.
“It is clarified that students of any class should not be called physically in school for the academic session 2021-22 till further orders. However, teaching learning activities may be commenced from 1st April 2021 for the students through digital modes for the new academic session,” the DoE said in an official order.
Schools in Delhi closed in March last year ahead of a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. While several states partially reopened schools in October, the Delhi government allowed schools to reopen for Class 9 to 12 students for practical works and remedial lessons, from January 18 and February 5.
“It is reiterated that the students of classes 9 to 12 (session 2020-21) may be called to school only for providing the academic guidance and support to the students for mid term exams, pre-board exams/ annual exams/ board examinations, practical exams, project work, internal assessment following the Standard Operating Procedure for COVID safety and with the consent of the parents,” the DoE added.
We can’t go back to last year: Multiplex, retail associations urge Maha govt to avoid lockdown
Cinema halls, retail, and shopping industries will not be able to afford another lockdown, Maharashtra industry associations said Thursday, urging Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to not impose a lockdown in the state where COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Multiplex Association of India (MAI), Retail Association of India (RAI), and Shopping Centres Association of India said they were following all the safety protocols laid down by the government but a lockdown will severely hit the business, which was on the path of recovery.
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