The first consignment of Covishield vaccines left the Serum Institute of India this morning ahead of the January 16 nationwide inoculation drive launch, marking a decisive phase in anti-coronavirus fight. Three temperature-controlled trucks rolled out of the Serum Institute’s gates shortly before 5 am and left for Pune airport, from where the vaccines will be flown across India.
The Central government on Monday placed firm orders in advanced commitments for over 6 crore doses of vaccines from Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech for inoculating three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase of the vaccination drive scheduled to start from January 16.
On the farmers’ issue, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the central government whether it would pause the three controversial laws at the core of massive farmer protests near Delhi, and suggested a committee for negotiations. “Tell us whether you will put the laws on hold or else we will do it. What’s the prestige issue here,” the court said, saying it was disappointed by the government’s handling of the crisis. The court’s sharp remarks came during a hearing on petitions challenging the farm laws and the farmer agitation at the Delhi borders. The court will pass order tomorrow on whether to stay the farm laws.
The government has, in eight rounds of talks with farmer unions, ruled out withdrawing the laws but has reasserted that it is open to amendments. The next meeting will be held on Friday.
With the outbreak of bird flu in several parts of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked all state governments to remain alert and ensure that local administration keeps a constant vigil near places like water bodies, zoos and poultry farms. PM Modi said that the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has put in place a plan to tackle the problem in which district magistrates will have a key role.
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Despite vaccines against Covid-19 being rolled out in a number of countries, the World Health Organization warned Monday that herd immunity would not be achieved this year.
Countries across the globe are looking forward to vaccines finally allowing a return to normality in the months ahead.
But the WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan warned that it will take time to produce and administer enough doses to halt the spread of the virus.
“We are not going to achieve any levels of population immunity or herd immunity in 2021,” she told a virtual press briefing from WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, stressing the need to continue measures like physical distancing, hand washing and mask wearing to rein in the pandemic.
Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has tested positive for coronavirus and cancelled all public engagements, his office announced late Monday just two weeks before a presidential election he is expected to win.
The 72-year-old head of state was “asymptomatic” and isolating in the presidential palace in Lisbon, his office said in a statement.
Last Wednesday, he had spent a few hours in “administrative isolation” after a member of his entourage tested positive, but the president then tested negative and had not been placed in quarantine because his contact with the person concerned had been considered “low risk”.
Maharashtra: Three trucks carrying Covishield vaccine reach Pune International Airport from Serum Institute of India’s facility in the city.
From the airport, the vaccine doses will be shipped to different locations in the country.
The vaccination will start on January 16. pic.twitter.com/xYZ1m8xR87
– ANI (@ANI) January 12, 2021