During his interaction over videoconferences was with 46 District Magistrates across eight States on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the need to remove vaccine hesitancy and said that the Central government was making every effort that a fortnightly supply schedule for vaccines to various States be provided to streamline supply and prevent wastage.
“There are three main weapons that we have in our armour to check the contagion. These are delineating local containment zones, aggressive testing and giving correct and accurate information to the local populace especially in terms of availability of medical resources like hospital beds etc.,” Mr. Modi said. “There is a need to crack down on black marketing of medicines and equipment,” he said.
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Here are the latest updates:
India’s halt to vaccine exports ‘very problematic’ for Africa
An extended halt to exportsof COVID-19 vaccines from India, where authorities are battling a wave of domestic infections, risks derailing vaccinationefforts already underway in Africa, one of the continent’s top health officials said on Tuesday.
India stopped vaccine exports a month ago and, according to a Reuters report earlier on Tuesday, is now unlikely to resum emajor exports before October, dealing a major setback to the global COVAX initiative on which many poor countries rely.
Africa has lagged far behind other regions due to supply issues and meagre financial resources but had planned to vaccinate 30-35% of its population by the end of the year and60% within the next two to three years.
“This is very problematic as it means unpredictability of our vaccination programmes and a serious risk of not achieving our stated target… on time,” the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong said.
Those targets primarily relied on supplies from the global COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, which has depended heavily on AstraZeneca shots produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
“Given India’s huge challenges, it will be impossible to expect anything soon,” Mr. Nkengasong said. — Reuters
Never exported vaccines at the cost of people of India: Serum Institute
The Serum Institute of India (SII) on Tuesday May 18, 2021 said it never exported vaccines at the cost of the people of India and that it was committed to doing everything possible to support the vaccination drive in the country. “We have been working with the government tirelessly to do our best for humanity and will continue in the same spirit,” read the SII statement.
Responding to the criticism of the decision of the government and Indian manufacturers, including the SII, to export vaccines, it said all needed to consider certain factors before arriving at any conclusion.
American vaccines effective against COVID strain first found in India: US officials
COVID-19 vaccines that are available in the United States are effective against the deadly variant that was first detected in India, top US health officials said on Tuesday.
The B.1.617 virus variant, first identified in India last year, has been classified as a ‘variant of concern’ at the global level by the World Health Organisation.
“The modest neutralization resistance to the 617 antibodies suggests that the current vaccines that we are all using that we’ve been speaking about would be at least partially and probably quite protective,” Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical advisor to the President told reporters during a news conference in Washington. — PTI
Random checks at private hospitals on COVID-19 tariff: TN Health Minister
The Tamil Nadu Government will soon set up a team to conduct random checks on private hospitals to check adherence to rates fixed for treatment of Covid-19 patients and initiate action against violators, Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma. Subramanian said on Tuesday.
Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has planned to have a meeting with managements of private hospitals soon to impress upon them to follow the guidelines issued by the government on the tariff. “The State Government has also fixed rates for private ambulances. A team will soon be formed to conduct random checks and take action on those violating the norms,” Mr Subramanian told The Hindu in an interview.
Lockdown extension adds to the woes of dispirited daily wagers
What started as a week-long lockdown in the city, has now stretched to a month. Several daily wagers complained of difficulties in managing households with the extended lockdown period.
With no work and lack of resources, several families are now either dependent on foodgrains being distributed by NGOs or are having to borrow from relatives and neighbours, they said.
Bangladesh sends second consignment of medicines to India
Bangladesh sent a large consignment of medicines and protective gears to India on Tuesday. This is the second consignment of assistance from Dhaka since India opened up for foreign assistance to deal with the second wave of COVID-19.
The delivery took place as Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen called External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and urged him to push the United States to supply vaccines to Dhaka.
COVID Care Centre sought in five islands in Diviseema
Former Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad has appealed to the State government to provide healthcare services round-the-clock to the five islands in the Krishna River and Bay of Bengal in Diviseema region.
At least 25 coronavirus cases and one death have been reported so far from the five islands—Nachugunta, Eelachetladibba, Edurumondi, Brahamayyagarimoola, and Yesupuram. By Tuesday, the East Godavari authorities were yet to complete the fever survey to ascertain the exact number of COVID-19 cases .
(With inputs from our Corrrespondents and agencies)