Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday that schools will not open in the national Capital at the moment. “Schools are not reopening for now,” Kejriwal told reporters, according to PTI. The Delhi government had earlier this month announced that schools and colleges would remain closed till October 31.
Kejriwal also cited a lack of funds as the reason why the government could not pay for Central Board of Secondary Education examination fees this year.
Schools and colleges have been closed in the country since March, when a nationwide lockdown was imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. However, in its “Unlock” guidelines in September, the Centre allowed states to decide whether to reopen schools and colleges.
Initially, the Delhi government had allowed schools for Classes 9 to 12 to resume on a voluntary basis from September 21. However, the government then took back the decision.
‘Everyone in India should get vaccine for free’
Kejriwal also said that the coronavirus vaccine, when it becomes available, should be given to everyone for free, NDTV reported. “The whole country should get free vaccine, the whole country has the right...” Kejriwal said while inaugurating a new flyover in Delhi’s Shastri Park and Seelampur neighbourhoods.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has announced free coronavirus vaccines if voted back to power in the Bihar Assembly elections. The governments of Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have also made similar promises.
Kejriwal had earlier this month taken a swipe at the BJP, asking if it would provide free vaccines even to those people who did not vote for the party during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
A political row began after the BJP promised free vaccines in Bihar. After criticism and mockery from Opposition leaders, BJP leader Bhupender Yadav said the vaccines will be made available to states at nominal cost. Yadav lashed out at the Congress for its “desperate” attempt to twist a statement by Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman, who had said that it was the first promise in the BJP’s Bihar manifesto that vaccines would be provided for free.
However, Puducherry on Saturday became the first Congress-ruled state to promise free coronavirus vaccines, India Today reported. Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said that the state will provide vaccines to its residents free of cost irrespective of whether the Centre provides the funds for it.
“Corona is like smallpox, polio and the governments have been providing the vaccine for free for all this,” Narayanasamy told reporters. “Similarly, the corona vaccine has to be provided free for all.”
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said that healthcare workers – around three crore of them – would be the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine is likely to come out early next year, and would be administered to about 25 crore people by July, the ministry has said.
India’s coronavirus case count on Saturday rose to 78,14,682 after 53,370 new infections were reported in 24 hours. The country’s toll went up by 650 to 1,17,956. There are 6,80,680 active cases, and 70,16,046 recoveries in the country.