Prime Minister Narendra Modi is back in the hot seat to drive India’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, eight weeks after the Centre had announced a liberalised vaccination policy. Scrapping the widely panned May 1st guidelines, the Centre will now buy and give the jabs to the states free of cost. The Opposition claims its concerted pressure for vaccine procurement centralisation along with the Supreme Court’s scathing comments seemed to have done the trick.
Tamil Nadu Monday extended the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown till June 14 with some relaxations, news agency ANI reported. Standalone shops selling fruits and vegetables, grocery, meat & fish, roadside shops, flower shops can operate between 6 am-5 pm. 11 districts have been exempted from relaxations due to the high infection rate.
Maharashtra has begun unlocking in a graded manner from today as the state’s five-level plan to ease curbs comes into effect. The lockdown was imposed in April following the devastating second COVID-19 wave. Mumbai falls in level-3 where all shops can open, restaurants can serve customers till 4pm on weekdays, private offices can be reopened with 50% staff, also till 4pm, and people can go for jogging and to gymnasiums, with certain conditions.
This past week, Bangalore recorded its highest ever CFR or case fatality rate in 2021, at 7% between May 29th and June 4th. During this period, the city witnessed 25,699 fresh cases and 1,797 deaths. However, the case positivity rate is falling from 12% in the previous week to just 6% this week. Experts have chalked up the high CFR to a lag in the recording of cases, as well as a lowered number of total positive cases. In any case, the State aims to bring the CFR down to less than 1% before unlocking.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced the ‘Jahan vote, Wahan vaccination’ campaign. “Under this campaign, we will tell people to visit their designated polling stations to get vaccinated. Door-to-door vaccinations are to be conducted soon. In 4 weeks, all above 45 years of age to be vaccinated,” he said.
The Union Health Ministry and Family Welfare’s directorate general of health services (DGHS) has issued revised guidelines to stop the use of Ivermectin and Doxycycline in COVID-19 treatment. The ministry has asked medical officials to be extremely cautious while using the drugs.
Bengaluru has emerged as the Indian city with the highest number of single doses of COVID-19 vaccines delivered in the country as of date. According to the Co-Win portal, as of June 3 evening, Bengaluru has administered 29,34,030 first doses, followed by Mumbai (27,57,450), Chennai (15,51,576), and Kolkata (14,98,153). Incidentally, Karnataka on Thursday announced that it will administer more than 60 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccine this month, thereby completing a total of two crore jabs by June 30.
The BS Yediyuarappa-led Karnataka government has revised lockdown guidelines, according to which private vehicles are not allowed to ply on the roads except in cases of a medical emergency or to visit hospitals or healthcare centres for vaccination. The decision has been taken to stop people from getting onto the roads amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The revision in lockdown guidelines caused confusion among the residents with many complaining that they had to walk long distances just to buy essentials. People claimed that new restrictions will only increase the hardships being faced by the people.
Keeping in view the coronavirus situation in the state, the Karnataka government on Thursday extended the full lockdown till June 14 as the positivity and fatality rates remain high in the state with the pandemic spreading to rural areas. Speaking to News 18, the sources had earlier said that the state government was unlikely to change restrictions with regard to intra and inter-district movement.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said paid Covid-19 vaccination policy for 18-44 age group is “arbitrary and irrational”. The Supreme Court’s observation came days after it said that vaccine prices should be uniform across the country. Currently, the Centre’s vaccination policy provides for free vaccination for those 45 and above and a paid system for those between 18-44 age group.