The fatalities reported on March 31, 2021 in India, is also the highest single-day spike in casualties this year.
Meanwhile, a decision on India approving a third COVID-19 vaccine is likely soon, with a subject expert committee (SEC) set to take up Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories application seeking emergency use authorisation for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine on April 1.
Here are the latest updates:
Vaccination to be offered on all days this month: Health Mnistry
The Centre has decided to operationalis both public and private sector COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) on all days of month of April 1, till the month end, said a release issued by Health Ministry on Thursday.
The Centre has written to all States and UTs on April 1 and asked them to make necessary arrangements to provide COVID vaccination in these CVCs on all days of the month including gazetted holidays during April 2021.
“This step has been taken after detailed deliberations with the States/UTs on 31st March, to optimally utilize all COVID Vaccination Centres across the public and private sectors to ensure rapid increase in the pace and coverage of COVID vaccination,” noted the release. — Bindu Shajan Perappadan
Vaccination for people above 45 years starts
The COVID-19 vaccination for all people aged 45 years and above commenced from Thursday, April 1, 2021, the Union Health Ministry said.
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.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated and vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. The ministry said so far vaccine doses have been administered to 82,60,293 HCWs (1st dose), 52,50,704 HCWs (2nd dose), 91,74,171 FLWs (1st dose) and 39,45,796 FLWs (2nd Dose), 78,36,667(1st dose) and 17,849 (2nd dose).
As on Day-75 of the vaccination drive (31st March), 20,63,543 vaccine doses were given. Out of which, 17,94,166 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 39,484 sessions for 1st dose and 2,69,377 beneficiaries received 2nd dose of vaccine.
The ministry further said that 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.
India records 72,330 new cases, highest single day rise
India saw 72,330 new coronavirus infections being reported in a span of 24 hours, the highest single day rise so far this year, taking the COVID-19 tally of cases to 1,22,21,665, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.
The single-day rise in cases is the highest recorded since October 11, 2020, while the death toll increased to 1,62,927 with 459 daily new fatalities, the highest in around 116 days, the data updated at 8 am showed.
Kaushambi district court closed for three days
The district court here was closed for three days from Thursday after two judges and one staff person were found positive for coronavirus.
Chief Medical Officer PN Chaturvedi said that Additional Civil Judges — Sumit Kumar and Abhishek Gupta — and one staffer Pankaj Kumar were found positive for conronavirus While Judge Sumit Kumar and Mr. Pankaj are undergoing treatment in Allahabad, Judge Abhishek is being treated in district hospital here, he said.
He said that on Wednesday testing was done in court, which has been closed for next three days and entire court is being sanitised.
More than 6.43 crore vaccines administered till now across the country
The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered crossed 6.43 crore on Wednesday, said the Health Ministry.
Cumulatively, 6,43,58,765 doses have been given, as per the provisional report.
Of the 13,04,412 doses administered till 7 p.m. on Wednesday, 11,07,413 beneficiaries were vaccinated for the first dose and 1,96,999 persons received the second. Final reports would be completed for the day by late tonight.
Sputnik V approval in India
Expert committee to rule on Sputnik V on April 1
A decision on India approving a third COVID-19 vaccine is likely soon, with a subject expert committee (SEC) set to take up Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories application seeking emergency use authorisation for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine on April 1.
The meeting of the SEC is scheduled for Thursday, sources in the pharma major confirmed. It will be the second time the application will go before the committee that advises the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Last month, the committee had sought more data on Sputnik V vaccine trials from Dr. Reddy’s. The firm should submit immunogenicity and safety data of Phase II and III trial as per approved protocol for further consideration. “Further, the firm is requested to present its data with more clarity,” it had said at the February 24 meeting.
Army’s gesture to Nepal
Indian Army donates 1 lakh doses COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal Army
India’s CoWIN portal, for COVID-19 vaccine registration, has been ramped up to accept on one crore registrations and record vaccination of 50 lakh persons per day, R.S. Sharma, Chairman, Empowered Group on COVID vaccination told The Hindu. Mr Sharma explained that the system has been geared up to accommodate the registration rush and vaccination load anticipated from April 1 when vaccination will be offered for anyone 45 years and above.
Mr. Sharma added that currently CoWIN does not schedule the second dose vaccination appointment automatically and beneficiaries are to schedule this as per the recommended gap between the two doses of the vaccine.
Mini clinics added to vaccination sites in Tamil Nadu
With COVID-19 vaccines being extended to all above the age of 45 starting on Thursday, the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has given the nod to start vaccination in mini clinics established across the State.
T.S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health (DPH), said mini clinics were being added to the vaccination programme. “There are 1,950 mini clinics in the State. There may be challenges in a few remote places, but approval has been given to all,” he said.
(With inputs from our Correspondents, agencies)