(Asian News Hub) – India has put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot made by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s biggest vaccine-maker, to meet domestic demand as infections rise, two sources told Reuters.
The move will also affect supplies to the GAVI/WHO-backed Covax vaccine-sharing facility through which more than 180 countries are expected to get doses, one of the sources said.
Covax has so far received 17.7 million AstraZeneca doses from the SII, of the 60.5 million doses India has shipped in total, and many countries are relying on the programme to immunise their citizens.
There have been no vaccine exports from India since Thursday, the foreign ministry’s website shows, as the country expands its own immunisation effort.
“Everything else has taken a backseat, for the time being at least,” said one of the sources. Both sources had direct knowledge of the matter, but declined to be named as the discussions are not public.
“No exports, nothing till the time the India situation stabilises. The government won’t take such a big chance at the moment when so many need to be vaccinated in India.”
India’s foreign ministry and the SII did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
Some delays already
The SII has already delayed shipments of the AstraZeneca drug to Brazil, Britain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
Unicef, the UN children’s agency that is procuring and distributing vaccines for Covax, had no comment.
Covax has a deal to buy 1.1 billion doses of the AstraZeneca and Novavax shots that the SII is making in bulk, mainly for low- and middle-income countries.
Unicef in Vietnam said in a statement on Wednesday that vaccine production issues had led to delays in deliveries to all countries that were due to receive vaccines through Covax.
It did not specify the origin of those delays, although Vietnam was not expected to receive doses from the SII.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet decided this week to widen its inoculation drive by including everyone above 45 from April 1, and many states battling a surge in infections have demanded that all adults be covered.
With 11.7 million cases, India has reported the highest number of coronavirus infections after the US and Brazil.
Currently, only the elderly and those over 45 with other health conditions are eligible for vaccinations in India. Health and frontline workers were first in line when India began its drive in mid-January.
India has so far administered more than 51 million doses, of which 47 million are the SII’s locally-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The rest is the Covaxin vaccine developed in India by Bharat Biotech.
The government has so far asked the SII to supply around 141 million doses. The company has also accounted for nearly all of India’s vaccine exports.
The SII plans to boost monthly production to 100 million doses from April/May, from up to 70 million now, Reuters reported earlier this month.
AIIMS doctor booked for raping colleague
(Asian News Hub) – Delhi Police on Friday registered a rape case against a senior doctor of All India Institute Of Medical Science in the national capital, ANI reported.
A complaint of alleged sexual harassment was received from AIIMS, Delhi on October 11 at Hauz Khas police station, informed the police.
The victim is also a doctor at the hospital, who had informed the police that a senior doctor colleague had allegedly raped her when she went to his room for a birthday celebration of one of their colleagues on September 26, as per ANI.
Based on her statement, the police registered an FIR under sections 376 and 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Hauz Khas police station and an investigation into the matter was taken up.
During the investigation, a statement of the victim was recorded before the Magistrate under section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and raids were conducted at possible hideout places to catch the absconding doctor.
Technical surveillance has already been mounted to nab the accused and continuous efforts are going on to trace him out at the earliest, said the police.
Tollywood actress Anuradha dies by suicide
(Asian News Hub) – In a shocking turn of events, actress Anuradha reportedly died by suicide at her residence in Hyderabad’s Film Nagar. She was 22.
According to reports, her neighbours grew suspicious as the junior artiste didn’t come out of her house for the last four days.
Reportedly, they found her body inside the house and alerted the police. Though the reason behind the death is not known, reports suggest that she was planning to get hitched to her long-time boyfriend Kiran, however, the latter allegedly backed off due to differences in opinions.
Soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army transgressed at least 5 kilometres inside Uttarakhand: Report
(Asian News Hub) – Around 100 Chinese soldiers entered the Indian territory in Uttarakhand and damaged a bridge in Barahoti area before retreating back to China, said a report published in the Economic Times.
According to the reports, the soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) transgressed at least 5 kilometres inside the Indian territory through the Tunjun-La pass.
They had come on 55 horses, damaged Indian infrastructure, and left before they could be confronted by the Indian troops.
The ET report, based on sources in the security departments, claimed that the PLA soldiers roamed in Barahoti for around 3 hours.
The transgression by Chinese troops was reported by locals, after which teams from the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police were dispatched to verify the report.
In the Central Sector (a 545-km stretch of border with Tibet in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), the dispute between India and China is over 2,000 square km of territory, in eight separate areas.
Barahoti lies on the border with China in the Chamoli district of Uttrakhand, north of the Nanda Devi National Park.
Back in July 2017, Chinese soldiers had transgressed into Barahoti twice during India’s standoff with China in Bhutan’s Doklam.
An ITBP source had then told the Indian Express that, “On both occasions [on July 15 and July 25] about 15-20 Chinese soldiers transgressed into the territory at Barahoti that India and China lay claim upon. The soldiers stayed there for a while and returned.”
Earlier in July this year, an ANI report claimed, “Recently, a platoon (about 35 soldiers) from the PLA was seen operating around the Barahoti area in Uttarakhand. The Chinese were seen doing some activity in this area after a significant breach.”
In order to avoid a Ladakh-like situation in Uttarakhand, the Indian Army has increased deployments in the central sector after hightened Chinese activity was noticed.
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