Expedite inoculation of frontline workers, Centre tells states; Jharkhand tops in vaccine wastage
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday said that the participation of the private sector in the COVID-19 vaccination drive was “less than adequate”
Terming the low COVID-19 vaccination coverage among the healthcare and frontline workers, especially for the second dose, a cause of “serious concern”, the Centre on Thursday advised the states and Union territories to sharpen their focus and prepare effective plans for expediting the second dose coverage among these priority groups.
At a high-level meeting chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan with the states to review the progress of vaccination, it was highlighted that while the national average for the first dose administration among the healthcare workers (HCWs) is 82 percent, for the second dose, it is only 56 percent, a statement issued by the health ministry said.
Further, the coverage in 18 states and Union territories, including Punjab, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, and Assam, is below the national average in this aspect.
For the frontline workers (FLWs), the national average of first-dose coverage is 85 percent but for the second dose, it is only 47 percent, the statement said.
Nineteen states and Union territories, including Bihar, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, Telangana, Karnataka, and Punjab, have reported a second-dose coverage of FLWs below the national average, it added.
This, as government data on Thursday, showed Jharkhand had the maximum wastage of 33.95 percent while Kerala (-6.37 percent) and West Bengal (-5.48 percent) recorded negative wastage of COVID-19 vaccines in May, saving 1.10 lakh and 1.61 lakh doses.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra crossed 2.5 crore in total vaccine doses administered till 9 June, including over 2 lakh first doses and 50 lakh second doses.
Private sector participation in vaccination ‘less than adequate’, says Centre
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday said that the participation of the private sector in the COVID-19 vaccination drive was “less than adequate”.
According to the revised guidelines, 25 percent of the vaccine stock can be procured by the private hospitals, which can set up Covid vaccination centres (CVCs) for supplementing the government’s efforts in further universalisation of the vaccination drive.
The limited presence of private hospitals and their unequal spread were highlighted for Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, etc, the statement said.
The states were also alerted to the new features on the CoWIN portal, which were incorporated in light of the new vaccination guidelines.
India registers record 6,148 deaths after Bihar revises its data
With Bihar revising its figures and putting the total number of fatalities caused by COVID-19 at 9,429, India reported its highest single-day spike of 6,148 deaths, pushing the toll to 3,59,676, while 94,052 new cases took the tally to 2,91,83,121, according to the Union health ministry’s data updated on Thursday.
The active cases have reduced to 11,67,952 comprising 4 percent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 94.77 percent, it said.
A net decline of 63,463 cases has been recorded in the total number of COVID-19 cases in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,76,55,493, while the case fatality rate has increased to 1.23 percent, the data stated.
Publicise advisory on preventing COVID-19 among children: Bombay HC
The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government on Thursday to give wide publicity to its advisory on preventing COVID-19 infection among children.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni said the state government must consider broadcasting the dos and don’ts on regional news channels to ensure the message reaches a larger population, especially those in rural areas.
The directions came after Maharashtra Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni informed the court that the state had constituted a task force to tackle paediatric cases of COVID-19 and related ailments.
A detailed video conference was recently held between district and health officials and 65,000 ASHA workers, during which various factors, such as identifying symptoms, prevention methods, use of oximeters, were discussed, Kumbhakoni said.
The court noted that the presentation made by the state in the meeting and its subsequent advisory was “nicely done” and therefore, must be given wider publicity.
“Why not broadcast this on Marathi TV and news channels? Give wide publicity to educate mothers, all stakeholders,” the high court said.
Delhi: Class 9, 11 exams cancelled, announces Manish Sisodia
Students of classes 9 and 11 whose final exams could not be completed in view of the second wave of COVID-19 in Delhi will be promoted on the basis of marks obtained in the mid-term examination, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced on Thursday.
“While students of Class 8 were promoted without any hassle due to the no-detention policy, roadblocks in the promotion of students of Class 9 and Class 11 needed to be reduced. Annual examinations of Class 9 and Class 11, which were supposed to be conducted from 12 April onwards, were cancelled by the Delhi Government, keeping in mind the safety and security of students,” Sisodia, who is also the education minister, said at a press conference.
“Private schools that have already conducted their annual assessments can follow the guidelines postulated by the Directorate of Education with regard to the promotion policy and declare their result,” he said.
He also said the Centre should focus on ensuring the supply of enough COVID-19 vaccines to all the states, rather than preventing them from sharing information regarding their vaccine stocks.
The Delhi government shares information regarding its vaccine stocks and the doses administered through a vaccination bulletin every day. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Atishi, who presents the vaccination bulletin, said the people of the city have the right to know about the vaccine stocks and availability.
The Centre has written to the states and Union territories, advising them not to share the data of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) system on vaccine stocks and the temperature of vaccine storage at public forums, saying it is “sensitive information and to be used only for programme improvement”.
Am amazed at the order of Central Govt that prevents states from sharing information regarding vaccine stocks!
The Central Govt needs to focus on ensuring adequate supply of vaccine to all, rather than hiding the true position of vaccine availability, from the public. https://t.co/WBs2thPopY
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) June 10, 2021
As per reports, Sisodia also directed Delhi’s health department to tie up with organisations such as Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy, Dunzo, among others, to ensure vaccination of delivery persons.
Sisodia said delivery personnel should be vaccinated on priority since they make sure that people stay indoors and avoid crowded markets.
Conduct audit of deaths during second wave: Uttarakhand HC to state govt
The Uttarakhand High Court has asked the state government to conduct an audit of the deaths that occurred during the second wave of coronavirus in the state, and also explore the possibility of carrying out door-to-door vaccination in remote hill areas.
Hearing petitions related to the state’s handling of the pandemic, Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma asked the state government on Wednesday if a district-level task force can be constituted with the help of the social welfare department to cater to people who are unable to get their immunisation due to lack of ID cards.
Asking the state government to explore the possibility of creating a system that reaches out to people in the remote hill areas on priority, the high court suggested setting up a panel of ASHA volunteers, home guards and nurses to carry out a door-to-door survey to ensure that the “dispersed” population in such areas is vaccinated.
Over 49,000 pending rape cases against children disposed of amid pandemic
More than 49,000 pending cases related to rape and sexual offences against children were disposed of amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the government said on Thursday.
Listing the work done towards the welfare of women and children in the last seven years, MyGovIndia, the Centre’s citizen engagement platform, said 1,023 fast track special courts, including 389 exclusive POCSO courts, have been set up for time-bound completion of trials in sexual offence cases.
In a tweet, MyGovIndia said 641 fast track special courts already operational include 341 exclusive Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act courts. “More than 49,000 pending cases of Rape and POCSO Act disposed of even amidst the pandemic,” it said.
Taking to Twitter, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani shared details about POSHAN Tracker, an app to track nutrition delivery services.
According to the data shared by her, over 1.02 crore hot cooked meals and more than 2.16 crore take-home ration packages have been tracked through POSHAN Tracker since its launch in March.
ICMR approves indigenous COVID-19 self-test kit by Meril Diagnostics
Medtech firm Meril on Thursday said it has received approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its self-use rapid antigen test kit for COVID-19 .
The company’s indigenous home-use rapid antigen test kits ‘CoviFind’ will expand access to COVID-19 testing, while also helping the nation meet the demand for increased and frequent screening to curb the spread of the pandemic, Meril said in a statement.
The test delivers results swiftly, providing accurate results in 15 minutes, it added.
“By making reliable rapid antigen testing available to all through a convenient format, Meril’s CoviFind test will facilitate early detection, isolation, treatment and contact tracing,” Meril Senior Vice-President (Corporate Strategy) Sanjeev Bhatt said.
The test kit is equipped with testing materials including a test device, one sterile nasal swab and a pre-filled buffer tube with a cap and is priced at Rs 250 as an affordable single-pack, the company said.
This is the second COVID self-test kit that has been approved for usage in India. In May, the ICMR had approved CoviSelf, another COVID self-test kit, by Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions. The Coviself self-test kit will also be available at Rs 250 per pack.
With inputs from PTI
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