The Union health ministry said over 2.09 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered till 7 am on Sunday with 14 lakh doses given on Saturday alone.
This, as India's coronavirus case count continues to spike over the weekend. Sunday saw 18,711 new cases being reported with six states " Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu " making up for 84.71 percent of these fresh infections. On Saturday, India reported over 18,000 cases for the first time in 36 days.
Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 10,187. It is followed by Kerala with 2,791 while Punjab reported 1,159 new cases.
The Centre on Saturday had urged states witnessing a spike in COVID cases to "make optimal use of vaccine doses in critical districts, step up vaccination of priority groups, tie up with private hospitals for opening up vaccination time-table for at least 15 days, and to increase contact-tracing to at least 20 people for every positive case", The Indian Express reported.
As per the report the Centre, singling out nine Delhi districts, 15 in Haryana, 10 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Odisha, nine in Himachal Pradesh, seven in Uttarakhand, two in Goa and one in Chandigarh, said they "continue to be of concern".
The Centre is continuously engaging with the states and UTs reporting higher caseload of active cases and those showing a rise in the daily new COVID cases, the ministry said further said, as per PTI. It has deputed high-level teams to Maharashtra and Punjab, which are showing steep increase in the daily new cases, it added.
According to the Union health ministry's figures, the number of people nationwide who have recuperated from COVID-19 surged to 1,08,68,520 which translates to a national COVID-19 recovery rate of 96.95 percent, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.41 percent.
In the past two weeks, 10 states did not report any COVID-19 deaths while 12 states reported between 1 and 10 deaths, says the Union health ministry.
As many as 18 States/UTs did not report any deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, said the Union health ministry.
These states are: Rajasthan, Uttar Pardesh, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Lakshadweep, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Tripura, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Arunachal Pradesh.
'85% jail staff vaccinated'
The Delhi Prisons Department said that around 85 percent jail staff and over 58 percent security personnel deployed in three jails under it have received COVID-19 vaccine shots. The Delhi Prisons comprises Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli jails.
A senior jail official said there are around 2,000 jail staff, out of which, 1,700 staff have been vaccinated. Out of around 1,700 security personnel deployed with Delhi Prisons and who have registered on Co-WIN portal, 1,000 personnel have got the coronavirus vaccine shots, he said.
Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said the department has encouraged its staff to get the vaccine shots. "We have been encouraging the jail staff and security personnel to get the vaccine. Most of the staff members have already taken the first dose of the vaccine. It is safe and essential for our health," he said.
Earlier, the Delhi Prisons Department had asked its staff members, including security personnel, to enrol themselves for receiving the coronavirus vaccine shots. A total of 293 prisons staff have contracted the infection till Sunday, and all of them have recovered, officials said.
They said a total of 120 inmates have tested positive for the virus so far, of whom 117 inmates have recovered, while two died and one is still under treatment. The first case of coronavirus was reported in Rohini Jail on 13 May.
Two COVID-19 positive inmates of Mandoli Jail had died on 15 June and 4 July. The second phase of the COVID-19 nationwide vaccination drive began on 1 March, wherein people aged 60 years and above, and those in 45-59 age bracket with comorbidities, will receive the vaccine shots.
Jail officials said there are about 300 inmates who are above 60 years of age and another 300 who are in the 45-59 age bracket with comorbidities. There are a total of 17,500 inmates in the three prisons: Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini.
'India's gift to world'
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccine is 'India's gift' to the world in combating coronavirus and will be remembered as a time when the country stepped up in a major way as a global player in innovation, a top American scientist has said.
Dr Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston during a webinar this week said that the two mRNA vaccines may not impact the world's low and middle income countries, but India's vaccines, made in collaboration with universities across the world such as BCM and Oxford University, have "rescued the world" and its contributions must not to be underestimated.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka received the first batch of 264,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines provided under the World Health Organisation's COVAX facility, an official said. COVAX is the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Covishield, has been developed in collaboration with Serum Institute of India (SII). The Pune-based vaccine major has entered into a collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine. The first batch of the coronavirus vaccines from the COVAX facility arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday, the state minister of COVID prevention Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle said.
"Today we received 264,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility to the Ministry of Health," he said. The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) delivered the first shipment of 264,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine provided to Sri Lanka under the World Health Organisation's COVAX facility.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca doses from COVAX will be for the most vulnerable persons above 60 years of age group in the most high-risk areas impacted by COVID-19.
The first shipment of 264,000 COVAX vaccines was delivered through UNICEF via Emirates Sky Cargo, one of the ten leading airlines which have signed agreements under UNICEF's Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative. The UNICEF, Colombo said the procurement and delivery of this supply of the vaccines through the COVAX Facility underpins the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and will provide critical vaccination support for 20 percent of the population.
As part of the agreement between the Ministry of Health and the COVAX Facility, the supply of the 1.44 million doses will be procured by UNICEF in stages until May 2021, subject to the availability from manufacturers and authorization by WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL), the UNICEF said. The chief epidemiologist Dr Sudath Samaraweera said that Western Province where the capital Colombo is located was chosen as the focal area for vaccination. "Western province was where the most cases came from and from where the spread was happening," he said.
India has gifted 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine which kicked off Sri Lanka's vaccine rollout in late January. The vaccines were given to the frontline workers and the security personnel.
India is one of the world's biggest drug-makers and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring coronavirus vaccines. In January, India announced it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Sri Lanka and seven other countries: Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, Afghanistan and Mauritius.
Sri Lanka has recorded more than 85,000 coronavirus cases so far with 493 deaths.Ker