India should be able to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination programme in the “near future” as its preparation is ready and robust, NITI Aayog member (health) V.K. Paul said in an exclusive interview with The Hindu. Covaxin would work even with mutations, that we are seeing in the virus, he added.
Meanwhile, several experts have raised concern over the “hasty approval” granted to the COVID-19 vaccines despite the lack of adequate efficacy data.
Here are live updates:
Partial resumption of academic activity begins in all schools in Puducherry
More than 800 schools in Puducherry and Karaikal regions of the Union Territory have resumed partial academic activities after several months of disruption due to COVID-19. From Monday, students in classes 1 to 12 can attend classes till forenoon in schools in both the regions.
“We have a reasonable number of students who came to class on Monday. All COVID- 19 protocols have been followed” said an official in the department.
Some private schools however, have decided to continue with online classes up to class 7 for some more time.
Attendance will not be mandatory for the classes held from 10 a.m to 1 p.m on all six days (Monday to Saturday) of the week, Director of School Education P. T Rudra Goud told The Hindu.
SII to sell first 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine at ₹200 per dose
Serum Institute of India will be selling the first 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccines to the Union government at a “special price” of ₹200, the comapny’s CEO Adar Poonawalla has said.
In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Mr. Poonawalla said the company been barred from exporting the vaccine for several months. Selling the vaccine on the private market has also been barred.
“We can only give (the vaccines) to the government of India at the moment,” Mr. Poonawalla said, adding the decision was also made to prevent hoarding. – AP
India records 16,504 new COVID-19 cases, 214 fresh fatalities
Daily new COVID-19 cases in the country remained below 20,000 for the third consecutive day taking the virus caseload to 1,03,40,469, while the recoveries surged to 99.46 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.
A total of 16,504 people tested positive for coronavirus infection in a day. The death toll increased to 1,49,649 with 214 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 99,46,867 pushing the national recovery rate to 96.19%, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45%.
The COVID-19 active caseload remained below 3 lakh for the 14th consecutive day. There are 2,43,953 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprise 2.36% of the total caseload, the data stated. – PTI
Frontline staff to get COVID-19 shots on priority: Deshmukh
Health workers, including paramedics, doctors, and police personnel, will be administered a COVID-19 vaccine on priority in Maharashtra, State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Sunday. He added that the State government will take all steps to prevent black marketing of the vaccines.
He said, “People aged over 60 years and those above 60 years with the existing comorbidies will be the second priority group for vaccination in the State.”
Two five-star hotels in Chennai turn COVID clusters
The Greater Chennai Corporation has reported a cluster of COVID-19 positive cases among employees of The Leela Palace, a luxury hotel in city.
Corporation officials have asked the hotel to cancel all banquets for a few days.
“Twenty persons have tested positive for COVID-19 in the hotel. We tested 232 persons in the hotel yesterday. Today, three more persons have tested positive for COVID-19. We tested 86 persons in the same hotel today,” said the official.
With this, 114 out of 1,623 employees in star category hotels across the city have tested positive for COVID-19 between December 16 and January 3, the officials said. This worked out to 7% positivity rate. Eleven out of 2,769 employees of hotels not included in star category have also tested positive for COVID-19.
The Corporation had recently identified ITC Grand Chola as a cluster of the pandemic.
Kerala colleges set to reopen today
A scene from the Physics lab at Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam.
Thiruvananthapuram is set to witness a flurry of activity with the resumption of classes in colleges on Monday.
While college authorities have already undertaken a thorough clean-up and sanitisation of campuses, college councils have evolved plans for regulating student movement and seating arrangements in a manner that enables adequate distancing. Display boards have been erected to propagate awareness on the pandemic. Moreover, the students will be briefed about the precautionary measures prior to the classes.
While most institutions will resume functioning in accordance with the government guidelines, the reopening will be delayed in a few others. University College will resume offline classes only on January 12 owing to the university examinations that will continue until January 11.
Team India, support staff negative in latest COVID-19 tests, says BCCI
The Indian cricket team and its support staff have returned negative in the latest COVID-19 tests conducted in Melbourne ahead of the third Test against Australia in Sydney, the BCCI said on Monday.
The match is due to start on January 7.
The statement comes a couple of days after five Indian players — vice-captain Rohit Sharma, opener Shubman Gill, stumper Rishabh Pant, pacer Navdeep Saini and batsman Prithvi Shaw — were placed in isolation when a video of them at an indoor restaurant was posted by a fan on Twitter.
Punjab Health Minister asks Centre to provide COVID-19 vaccine for free
Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh on Sunday said the Central government should provide COVID-19 vaccine free of cost to Punjab within a stipulated time.
Mr. Sidhu said Punjab has taken stringent measures from time to time to control the pandemic and now, the BJP-led government at the Centre should not backtrack from its duty to supply the vaccine.
“So far, about 5,364 COVID-19 related deaths have taken place in the State, which is about 178 deaths per million. In comparison to Delhi, where a total of 10,577 COVID-19-related deaths have taken place, and with their deaths per million rate relatively high at 528, we are in a way better position than other States. Punjab has a recovery rate of 95% and active cases are declining day by day,” said Mr. Sidhu while addressing a press conference here.
Delhi Police completes COVID vaccination dry run for over 80,000 personnel
The Delhi Police has completed the second dry run to check the best way to vaccinate around 87,000 personnel against COVID-19, a senior officer said on Sunday. The entire process will be done in three phases.
Muktesh Chander, the Special Commissioner of Police and nodal officer for the COVID-19 action plan, on December 26 passed an order to Delhi Police to update the cellphone number in the Personal Information System (PIS) on IntraDP system. All the policemen were instructed to update their mobile numbers by January 3, 2021. All district and unit heads were also instructed to ensure completion of the exercise in time so that no one is left out of the vaccination programme.