The centre will provide free coronavirus vaccines to states and union territories for inoculation of all above 18 from June 21, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, announcing that the centre will take over the 25 per cent state procurement quota. Asserting that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in the coming days, PM Modi said the centre has now decided to buy 75 per cent of jabs from vaccine makers for free supply to states, while private sector hospitals will continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines but they cannot charge more than Rs 150 per dose over the pre-fixed price.
Under the earlier policy, the central government gave free vaccines to those above 45 and frontline workers, and left state governments and private hospitals to administer doses at a cost to people between 18 and 44. States were also providing free shots to this group.
The PM’s announcement came after Delhi and Mumbai cautiously lifted some of their lockdown restrictions, but warned residents to remain vigilant against the disease. Some shops and malls reopened in Delhi and the city’s metro services were operating at 50 percent capacity. Maharashtra also eased restrictions based on infection rates and hospital bed occupancy.
India on Monday reported 1.06 lakh cases — after several days of 400,000-plus cases in May — and nearly 2,500 deaths. The country’s caseload now stands at 2.89 crore.
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New York is planning to host a major concert in Central Park in August as a way to celebrate the city’s “rebirth” following the Covid-19 pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. No program details were revealed, but De Blasio has asked veteran music producer Clive Davis — who often draws A-listers to his events — to organize the line-up.
“You can see the comeback happening,” De Blasio told a press conference, announcing a “Homecoming Week” of events to celebrate the Big Apple’s emergence from the pandemic, which hit the city especially hard in the early days.
Glaring COVID-19 vaccine inequality has created a “two-track pandemic” with Western countries protected and poorer nations still exposed, World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, renewing pleas for shot donations.
“Increasingly, we see a two-track pandemic,” Tedros told reporters during a press conference from Geneva. “Six months since the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered, high-income countries have administered almost 44% of the world’s doses. Low-income countries have administered just 0.4%. The most frustrating thing about this statistic is that it hasn’t changed in months.”