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Next 4 weeks critical to battle 2nd Covid wave: NITI Aayog’s Paul

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 07, 2021

A Mumbaikar walks past a graffiti depicting the importance of vaccination in the Covid fight.   -  KUNAL PATIL

Health Minister against opening up vaccination to those under 45

The next four weeks are criticial for the country as the second wave of Covid is spreading at a faster pace the first, a top NITI Aayog official said.

“We have to tolerate the second wave of Covid-19, face it and also defeat it. We need lot of positivity to fight it and the next four weeks are going to be very critical,” VK Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog, said at the press conference organised by the Union Health Ministry.

While the Chief Ministers of Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, along with the Indian Medical Association appealed to the Centre to do away with the 45 years age bar for vaccination, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan did not favour this.

He said the inoculation is for the most vulnerable and India is still far more lenient in its vaccine drive as against other countries such as the UK and the US, which are more restrictive in their approach.

Teams head to States

“Worldwide, vaccination aims to protect people from death. The number of deaths is significantly higher in other countries compared to India. The other aim is to protect the healthcare system,” Vardhan said.

The Centre has sent 50 teams to Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab to tackle the Covid-19 surge and the rising mortality rates, the Minister said. It is worrisome, he added, that Maharashtra was accounting for 58 per cent of all the cases and 34 per cent of deaths.

According to sources, Prime Minster Narendra Modi is also slated to meet heads of States most affected on Thursday to take stock of the Covid situation. The centre will also organise a special campaign to promote Covid-appropriate behaviour at public places from April 6 to 14.

Night curfew in Delhi

With the surge in daily cases, the Delhi Government has imposed a night curfew between 10 pm and 5 am till April 30. However, essential services and movement of vehicles for emergencies will be allowed. Covid cases continued to soar across the country, with the tally in the 24 hours ending 8 am on Tuesday hitting 96,982, according to Health Ministry data.Maharashtra recorded the most number of cases at 47,288 followed by Chhattisgarh at 7,302 and Karnataka (5,279).

India's total cases now stand at 1,26,86,049, of which 7,88,223 are active cases, 11,73,2279 have recovered, and the death toll has increased to 1,65,547 with 446 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours.

Vaccination nears 8.5-cr mark

India administered 43,00,966 vaccine doses on Tuesday. The jabs administered across the country crossed 8.40 crore doses with 8,40,65,357 shots given in the 24 hours till 8 pm on Tuesday.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan held a virtual meeting with the health ministers of 11 States and union territories to review the Covid situation. He urged the States to request people to follow Covid-19 preventive measures.

The 11 States called for the meeting were Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan. These States have been reporting very high rise in daily cases and mortality in the last two weeks.

Published on April 06, 2021

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