India To Start Covid-19 Vaccination In Next Few Days, Says Minister; Virus Total Above 10.4 Million

NEW DELHI, Jan 8 (Xinhua): Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Friday said Covid-19 vaccines will be provided in the next few days.

“It will be given to our healthcare professionals followed by frontline workers,” Vardhan told media in southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Vardhan was speaking after visiting the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai, the capital city of the state, where he had reviewed the arrangements for Covid-19 vaccine dry run of the vaccination.

On Friday the second nationwide mock drill was rolled out in over 700 districts across the country.

Officials say detailed insights and feedback obtained during the dry runs will help enrich the operational guidelines and IT platform and will strengthen the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out plan.

Recently India’s Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved two COVID-19 vaccines for restricted emergency use.

The drugs regulator approved Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.

Vardhan earlier said in the first phase of inoculation drive, 30 million frontline workers would be provided with free COVID-19 vaccine.

India plans to inoculate 300 million people by July this year.

India’s Covid-19 tally rose to 10,413,417 on Friday as 18,139 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, said the latest data from the federal health ministry.

According to the data, the death toll mounted to 150,570 as 234 COVID-19 patients died since Thursday morning.

There are still 225,449 active cases in the country, while 10,016,859 people have been discharged so far from hospitals after medical treatment.

Meanwhile, the federal government has ramped up COVID-19 testing facilities across the country, with over 170 million tests having been conducted so far.

As many as 179,336,364 tests were conducted till Thursday night (Jan 7), out of which 935,369 tests were conducted on Thursday alone, said the latest data issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Friday.

Delhi, which has been one of the most Covid-19 affected places in the country, has been witnessing a downward trend over the past few days. As many as 486 new cases and 19 deaths were registered in the national capital through Wednesday.

As many as 10,644 people have died in the national capital due to Covid-19, confirmed the Delhi’s health department. – Xinhua

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