India Saturday received a shipment of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V as the first batch of 1,50,000 doses landed in Hyderabad from Moscow. Another three million doses of the Russian vaccine are scheduled to arrive this month.
The vaccines will be delivered to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, which has joined hands with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to produce Sputnik V in India.
On April 13, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the use of Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus in the country. India became the 60th country to approve Sputnik V.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the national capital will kick-off “large-scale” vaccination drive Monday onwards. “This is a symbolic vaccination drive. This is being done only in one state centre from day after tomorrow there will be large scale vaccination. I would like to tell people to not crown vaccination centres.”
CM Kejriwal further re-emphasised on the issue of oxygen shortage in Delhi. “We are still facing shortage of Oxygen. We are still getting SOS from hospitals. We have told courts and centre. We require over 900MT of O2 but we have been allotted only 490MT. This has to be increased. Some hospitals say that they wont be able to keep patients for long,” he said.
Facing a severe domestic shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, only six states in India start the process of inoculation for those above 18 years of age. Several states, including Kerala, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra have said they do not have sufficient doses of vaccine for the inoculation of those in the 18-44 age group. In most of these states, inoculation drive will be restrained in just few districts.
The Health Ministry’s data this morning showed India reported 4,01,993 fresh COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day tally since the start of the pandemic, and 3523 deaths. Besides, 2,99,988 discharges in the last 24 hours, as per the Union Health Ministry. Meanwhile, in Mumbai, Mayor Kishori Pednekar has asserted that the city will give priority to those between 45 to 60 years of age due to a shortage of vaccines. For those between 18-44 years of age, only the ones who have registered on the CoWIN app and received a message on it will be vaccinated at the centres, she said.
“People who have registered on CoWIN app and received a message can go to vaccination centres. Don’t go to centres until and unless you receive a message. If you have registered but have not received a message, don’t go to the centre. Priority will be given to people between 45-60 years of age coming in for their second dose. Vaccines will be given to people bbetween 18 to 44 years of age only after they have registered and received a message. Vaccine centres will function as and when we receive vaccine,” she said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 4 lakh for those killed in the hospital fire in Gujarat’s Bharuch. “I express my condolences to the patients, doctors and hospital staff who lost their lives in the fire accident at Bharuch Hospital. The state government will provide assistance of Rs 4 lakh to the families of each of the victims of the accident,” Rupani said.
In a tragic incident, at least 18 coronavirus patients died after a fire broke out at a hospital in Gujarat’s Bharuch in the early hours today. Gut-wrenching visuals of the tragedy showed remains of some patients roasted alive on stretchers and beds.
On a little brighter side, the United States Agency for International Development coordinator Jeremy Konyndyk, White House National Security Council and Embassy of India, Washington DC oversaw the send-off of the fourth plane carrying critical life-saving supplies to India today.
The US has, meanwhile, imposed a ban on the entry of foreign nationals who were in India for the past 14 days. Entry of US citizens, Green Card holders allowed.
US President signed the declaration to restrict the entry of Indians in the US, owing to the increasing number of Covid19 cases in India. The proclamation said India “accounts for over one-third of new global cases” and added that “proactive measures are required to protect the nation’s public health from travelers entering the United States” from India.
The Biden Administration yesterday said that the COVID-19 crisis in India is “indeed very serious”, noting that the cases have not peaked yet. “I’m afraid that the crisis in India with the surge in the virus is indeed very, very serious. India’s reporting an increasing number of cases almost every day. The crisis has not peaked yet,” Gayle E Smith, the State Department Coordinator for Global COVID Response and Health Security told reporters at a news conference here.