Coronavirus India Live Updates: Active cases drop to 15.5 lakh, says Health Ministry

Coronavirus (Covid-19) India Lockdown and Cases News Live Updates: The total tally of coronavirus infections in the country has now risen to 2,86,94,879 while the death toll touched 3,44,082.

Coronavirus India Live Updates: India on Saturday reported 1,20,529 new Covid-19 cases and 3,380 deaths, according to data from the Union Health Ministry. The total tally of coronavirus infections in the country has now risen to 2,86,94,879 while the death toll has touched 3,44,082. The Health Ministry said active cases have dropped to 15,55,248. As many as 22,78,60,317 people have been vaccinated so far, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, just nine corporate hospital groups in big cities have cornered 50 per cent of the Covid-19 vaccine stock meant for the private sector in the month of May, reflecting the problem of vaccine inequity.

These nine corporate hospital groups cumulatively bought 60.57 lakh doses of the total 1.20 crore doses of vaccines procured by private hospitals in the first full month since the Central government revised its vaccine policy and opened it to the market. The balance 50 per cent of the vaccine stock was procured by 300-odd hospitals, located mostly in the country’s urban centres, with hardly any of them serving regions beyond the Tier-2 cities.

The government of Maharashtra late Friday started a five-level unlock plan for the state based on the positivity rate and occupancy of oxygenated beds in each district. The plan will come into effect as soon as district and civic authorities issue orders in their respective areas. Under the plan, districts falling in “Level 1” will have the least restrictions, while those in “Level 5” will have near lockdown-like curbs.

Coronavirus India Live Updates: India reports 1.20 lakh new Covid-19 cases, 3,380 deaths; active cases drop to 15.5 lakh; Nine private hospitals corner 50% vaccine doses; decision on vaccinating kids being examined, says Dr VK Paul. Follow this space for coronavirus live updates

A man sterilizes Shivaji Nagar BMC-run maternity home on Friday. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

The head of India’s Covid-19 task force on Friday said the decision on vaccinating children is being “continuously examined” and emphasised that once the rollout for the children takes place, all of them have to be covered at the same time.

Asked if the government is mulling a plan to procure the Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine approved for the 12-18 years age group in the US, Dr V K Paul said India will require approximately 25-26 crore doses to vaccinate the children.

Meanwhile, cornered over selling Covid vaccines to private hospitals at a profit, the Punjab government on Friday ordered that the doses be returned with immediate effect. The government had sold 42,000 doses of Covaxin — out of the 1.14 lakh it bought on May 27 from Bharat Biotech at Rs 420 per dose — to over 20 private hospitals for Rs 1,060 each. The hospitals had, in turn, charged recipients Rs 1,560 for a dose.

The government had thus made a profit of Rs 5.28 crore — buying the vaccines for Rs 3.20 crore, and selling them for Rs 8.48 crore. As the issue snowballed into a controversy, Nodal Officer for Vaccination Vikas Garg issued an order asking private hospitals to return the vaccines. “The order providing one-time limited vaccine doses to 18-44 years age group population through private hospitals has not been taken in the right spirit, and is hereby withdrawn. Further, it has been decided that the private hospitals should return forthwith all the vaccine doses available with them…”

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