Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday urged the Centre to allow the inoculation of all citizens above 18, amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the country. Kejriwal claimed that his government could vaccinate everyone in Delhi in three months if given the required permission.

Kejriwal said it would be unfortunate if cases in India continued to rise despite the fact that the country took a huge lead in developing vaccines. “The eligibility criteria for getting vaccinated is very strict right now,” he said during a press briefing. “The production of vaccines in the country has significantly increased and inoculation should be opened to all now.

The Delhi chief minister added: “Let us instead make a list of who all are not eligible, like those below 18 and people with certain medical conditions. We should open inoculation for all the others. We should allow walk-ins.”

Kejriwal also requested the Centre to allow states to decentralise the inoculation process and vaccinate people on a war footing.

The Delhi chief minister announced plans to augment the Capital’s vaccination capacity. “As of now 30,000 to 40,000 vaccines are being administered in Delhi each day,” he said. “We plan to increase it to 1.25 lakh.”

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Kejriwal added that the number of vaccination centres in Delhi will be doubled from 500 to 1,000. “Earlier, the vaccination hours were from 9 am to 5 pm,” he said. “We plan to extend the timing till 9 pm.”

The Delhi chief minister urged all eligible citizens to get vaccinated. “I got the vaccine and so did my parents,” Kejriwal said. “There is no reason to worry.” At present, senior citizens and people above the age of 45 with comorbidities are being vaccinated.

Kejriwal said that there was an increase in cases in the Capital but people need not panic. “We are taking all the necessary steps and consulting experts,” Kejriwal assured the people. Delhi had recorded 536 new cases on Wednesday, taking its tally to 6,45,025. Three more deaths pushed the Capital’s toll to 10,948.

Several states in India are witnessing a worrying surge in coronavirus cases. Maharashtra on Wednesday registered 23,179 new coronavirus cases – its highest one-day rise in infections this year. The state’s overall count went up to 23,70,507. Its toll rose to 53,080 as 84 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

Earlier on Wednesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi met chief ministers of several states amid the rise in coronavirus cases. He told them that the country needed to act quickly to stop the second wave of the pandemic.