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Centre asks states/UTs to gear up for Vaccine rollout

New Delhi, Dec 31: The Central government has asked all the states and union territories to get prepared for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the dry run of which will be conducted on January 2, 2021.


This announcement was made by the Union Health Secretary Sh. Rajesh Bhushan after a high-level meeting for COVID-19 vaccination with Pr. Secretaries (Health), NHM MDs and other health administrators of all states/UTs through video conference, on Thursday.


In a press statement, the health ministry said that the dry run will be conducted in the state capitals in at least 3 session sites.


However, in Kerala and Mumbai, the vaccination will roll out in other parts of the state as well.


‘This is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in the field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation,’ the statement said.


For each of the three Session Sites, the concerned medical officer-in-charge will identify 25 test beneficiaries (healthcare workers). The states/UTs have been asked to ensure that the data of these beneficiaries is uploaded in Co-WIN. These beneficiaries will also be available at the session site for the dry run.


For the activity, the Center has asked the states/UTs to ensure physical verification of all proposed sites for the adequacy of space, logistical arrangements, internet connectivity, electricity, and safety; and also to prepare at least three model session sites in each state (at state capital) for demonstration. It also asked that the Model Sites to have separate entry and exit in a ‘three-room set-up’ with adequate space outside for awareness generation activities.


According to the health ministry as many as 96,000 vaccinators were trained for the vaccine rollout, out which 2,360 participants were trained in National Training of Trainers and over 57,000 participants trained in district level training in 719 districts.


A mock drill was conducted in the first round of the dry run in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab on December 28 and 29 2020 in two districts each where five-session sites with 25 beneficiaries each were identified. No major issues were observed in the operational aspects during this dry run.

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Coronavirus: 15-day lockdown must to break deadly chain of transmission; Experts

(Asian News Hub) – As India witnesses an unprecedented surge in Covid caseloads, voices for a short-duration national lockdown or in severely-hit states/UTs grew louder on Wednesday and experts urged the Centre to immediately plan and execute a 15-day lockdown to break the chain of infection and manage the second wave of the pandemic.

The fact is that when India went into a 21-day national lockdown in March last year, the total number of active Covid cases was a mere over 500.

The lockdown then failed to stop the surge as the first wave happened after that period and devastated businesses and normal life.

This time, as India reported 1,84,372 new Covid-19 cases, setting another grim one-day record and taking the overall tally to 13,87,825 on Wednesday, a short-duration lockdown is what is the need of the hour to stop the menace, experts told IANS.

“As the hospital services are up to the brim and more and more people are dying, vaccination has also been halted because of lack of access at many centres.

This is an emergency situation for a shorter national lockdown,” Dr Rahul Bhargava, Director, Department of Clinical Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Fortis Hospital, stressed.

“This way, we will be able to break the virus chain and get a breather to vaccinate more and more people as hospitals services will be back on track,” Bhargava said.

Experts also cited the example of Amaravati lockdown model for breaking the deadly chain of transmission.

Amaravati in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region saw a rapid surge in February the state government first imposed a week-end lockdown on February 18 to break the chain of virus transmission. But this effort failed as cases were still going north.

It was followed by a stricter lockdown for seven days, from February 22 to March 1, and was extended for another one week from March 1 to March 8.

The lockdown successfully broke the chain of transmission and active caseload decreased.

According to Neha Gupta, Infectious Diseases Specialist at Medanta – The Medicity, Gurgaon, strict social distancing norms are very important at this juncture, which will help in stabilising the overburdened healthcare services as hospitals are facing bed crunch and shortage of anti-viral drugs.

Bhargava added that if a short-duration lockdown is not planned, hospitals services will be choked, Covid patients will not get beds and receive necessary supplies on time.

“We need an urgent lockdown for at least 15 days. It may not be as harsh as the last one but there is a dire need for implementing this right away,” he told IANS.

The demand for a lockdown came as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that lockdown, not the country’s vaccine rollout, is the main reason for the decline of Covid-19 infections in Britain.

“The numbers are down — of infections and hospitalizations and deaths. But it is very, very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers… has not been achieved by the vaccination programme,” he told Sky News.

“People don’t, I think, appreciate that it’s the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic and in the figures that we’re seeing,” he added.

The prime minister said the vaccination programme has helped, but the bulk of the work in reducing the disease has been done by the lockdown.

India, too, needs a quick lockdown to break the chain of transmission, rising at a rapid rate with no respite in sight.

IANS

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UP CM Yogi Adityanath isolates self after his official test positive for COVID-19

(Asian News Hub) – Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday went into self-isolation after coming into contact with a few officials who tested positive for COVID-19. Adityanath informed this on his Twitter handle.

“A few officials in my office have contracted COVID-19. I had come into their contact. That is why, as a precautionary measure, I am self-isolating myself and will work virtually,” the UP CM tweeted in Hindi.

This has come in the midst of West Bengal assembly polls, where Adityanath was one of the star campaigners for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Uttar Pradesh government has already announced restrictions on gatherings of five or more people in religious places for effective control of the Covid-19 pandemic during Navratri and Ramzan.

ANI

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COVID-19: Maharashtra CM announces 15-day ‘janta curfew’ from Wednesday

(Asian News Hub) – Maharashtra Chief Minister on Tuesday announced strict lockdown-like measures aimed to break the infection’s chain, highlighting that COVID-19 cases in the state are exploding at a dangerous rate.

There will be 15-day ‘corona curfew’ with only essential services being allowed in the state.

As Maharashtra reported 60,212 fresh COVID-19 cases Tuesday, CM Uddhav Thackeray, in his virtual address to the state, said that public transport would be available only for those involved in essential services during the 15-day ‘janta curfew’ starting Wednesday.

Section 144 will also be imposed across Maharashtra from tomorrow which means no one will be allowed to venture out without valid reason.

All public places will also remain shut for a fortnight.Describing the coronavirus situation in the state, CM Thackeray said he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow procurement of oxygen from other states. He said that Maharashtra’s healthcare system was under great pressure.


Uddhav Thackeray said he would also request the PM for taking Air Force, Army’s help for tackling shortage of oxygen and medicines in the state.

“There is a scarcity of oxygen in the state. Would request the Centre to allow us to procure oxygen from other states. Air Force can be allowed to ferry oxygen cylinders from other states,” he said, adding,” We have to intensify vaccination to decrease the speed of this wave”.

Earlier, addressing an all-party meeting, CM Uddhav Thackeray had hinted at the imposition of an extended lockdown in the state to curb the surge in cases. On Sunday, he held a meeting with members of the state COVID-19 task force and said a standard operating procedure (SoP) will be prepared after holding consultations.


“Hospitals across the state are under tremendous pressure. The healthcare system is overburdened. The current situation is scary,” Uddav Thackeray said.

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