The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday spelt out the conditions for easing coronavirus-induced restrictions, which included a positivity rate of under 5% for a week and vaccination of 70% of those at risk, reported The Indian Express.
Indian Council of Medical Research Director General and a member of the national Covid-19 task force Dr Balram Bhargava said that the “gradual lifting [of curbs] will not witness a massive surge”, districts have to make sure that vaccination is prioritised, according to The New Indian Express.
“In terms of preventing the third wave, it is very simple that districts with less than 5% positivity should open up a little bit...they should open very gradually,” Bhargava said. “They should ensure that the vulnerable population should achieve at least 70% vaccination… if that has not been achieved, they should vaccinate them and then open up,” Bhargava said.
The ICMR chief’s statement came as 344 districts, which is close to half of the 718 districts in the country, reported a week’s Covid-19 positivity of under 5%.
He also said that the public had to maintain coronavirus-appropriate norms. “...community ownership for Covid-appropriate behaviour and care should be taken up...in a big way....” Bhargava said, according to The Indian Express. “We have to remember our vaccination is being ramped up. By December, we hope to have the whole country vaccinated.”
India’s weekly Covid-19 test positivity rate on Tuesday was 8.64%, according to the health ministry.
‘India will have vaccines to inoculate 1 crore per day by mid-July’
During a briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country, the Centre clarified that no changes have been made in the dosage regimen of coronavirus vaccine, Covishield, as far as the number of shots were concerned. Niti Aayog (Health) member VK Paul also said that research on mixing of vaccines was still being done and directed health workers to keep following the existing standard operating procedure.
The clarification came after reports suggested on Monday that the Centre was mulling a single-dose Covishield regimen, and mixing of two different vaccines. “I would like to clarify that Covishield schedule in India is a two-dose one,” Paul said. “The second dose will be given 12 weeks after the first shot. There is absolutely no change.”
In the same briefing, Bhargava said that the country will have enough supply of vaccines to inoculate one crore beneficiaries a day by mid-July or early-August. He claimed there was no shortage of vaccines and reiterated the Centre’s assertion that the entire population of the country will be inoculated by December this year.
The Centre has repeatedly made the claim of being able to vaccinate all citizens of India by the year-end, even as several states have been hit with shortages of shots.
As of Tuesday evening, more than 21.41 crore shots have been administered in India, while above 4.36 crore beneficiaries have received both the doses. Thus, only a little more than 3.1% of India’s 140 crore population is fully vaccinated so far.