Coronavirus updates | March 23, 2021

The government has announced that from April 1, all people above 45 will be eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines and requested them to get registered for the inoculation. Briefing reporters on the decisions taken by the Cabinet after its meeting, Union Minster Prakash Javadekar said now even people without comorbidities who are more that 45 can get vaccinated. He requested people entitled to get themselves registered to take the jabs.

He said the Cabinet also decided that the second dose of the vaccine can be taken between four and eight weeks, on the advice of doctors. It was allowed to be taken between four to six weeks earlier, but scientists have now said that taking the second dose between four and eight weeks gives improved results. The Union Cabinet discussed about the vaccination drive which has already achieved speedy and good progress, Javadekar said.

 

He said that till date 4.85 crore vaccine doses had been administered for COVID-19 and more than 32 lakh people had been administered the vaccine in last 24 hours.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:

New Delhi

Home Ministry issues fresh guidelines

The Home Ministry issued a fresh set of guidelines on Tuesday in view of the rising COVID cases. The guidelines mandate the State/ UT Governments to strictly enforce the Test-Track-Treat protocol in all parts of the country; ensure observance of COVID-appropriate behaviour by everyone; and, to scale up the vaccination drive, to cover all the target groups.

– Vijaita Singh

New Delhi

All those above 45 years will be eligible for the vaccine from April 1

Highlights from briefing by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar after Union Cabinet meeting:

“We know the vaccination is going well and speedily in India. 4.85 crore people have received the vaccination. Yesterday, a record of 32.54 lakh doses were given in 24 hours.

“All those above 45 years will be eligible for the vaccine from April 1. The Cabinet discussed it today and decided after taking into account the task force and scientific experts’ advice.

“Our request is that those above 45 years register and take appointments for vaccination. Vaccines are available in adequate quantity. There is no need to worry. Both the vaccines are successful.

“The advise given by scientists is that second dose can be administered between 4 and 8 weeks after the first, particularly for Covishield. Doctors will advise when you need to take the second dose.

“The vaccine campaign is very important as there are new variants. We will have to keep wearing masks for another year or year-and-a-half, maintain distance and wash hands. The vaccine is the only protective shield.”

 

Punjab

81% of samples in Punjab turn out positive for U.K. variant

With 81% of the latest 401 COVID-19 samples sent by the State for genome sequencing turning out positive for the U.K. variant, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday appealed to the people to get themselves vaccinated, even as he urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to widen the vaccination ambit to cover those under 60 since this mutant had been found to be infecting young people more. — Vikas Vasudeva

Karnataka

Preference to those in containment zones, says advisory committee

The COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended to the State government that senior citizens and people above the age of 45 years with co-morbidities who are in containment zones and test negative for COVID 19 should be given preference in getting the vaccination.

M.K. Sudarshan, chairman of the TAC said that people in this age bracket should be vaccinated within 24 hours after they are tested negative in micro containment zones and within 72 hours in regular containment zones.

 

Maharashtra

CM favours lockdown in some cities if cases keep rising: Tope

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday said people must follow COVID-19 safety protocols if the State is to avoid another lockdown.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was of the view that lockdown may become necessary in some cities if the new cases continue to climb, Mr. Tope told reporters here.

At the same time, he also defended the State’s response to rising cases and pointed out that in terms of cases per million population, many States have fared worse.

He met the Chief Minister two days ago, Mr. Tope said.

“He told me that if the number of daily cases in the state remains in the range of 25,000 to 30,000 for the next some days, then we will have to take some stringent steps. He is of the opinion that if the numbers continue to increase, we will have to impose lockdown in some cities,” the Minister said.

“I appeal people to respond to CM’s warning (about possibility of lockdown) positively and follow the COVID-19 protocols such as mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing to avoild lockdown,” Mr. Tope said. – PTI

(With inputs from Agencies)

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