India Coronavirus Dispatch: Govt eyes faster rollout amid second wave fears

The faster rollout is likely to coincide with the start of the second phase of the programme.
IN NUMBERS: Over 13,500 fresh cases reported, 30% higher than Tuesday

India reported 13,742 fresh coronavirus infections on Wednesday, taking the cumulative caseload to 11,030,176, according to a report in the Scroll. The fresh cases are nearly 30 per cent higher than Tuesday’s count. The country saw 104 deaths due to the pandemic, taking the death toll to 156,567, according to central health ministry data. The total recoveries have surged to 10,726,702. The national recovery rate is at 97.25 per cent. The active caseload is at 146,907, which makes up 1.33 per cent of the total caseload. As many as 12,165,598 healthcare and frontline workers have been inoculated since the nationwide inoculation programme kicked off on January 16. Read more here

Centre plans faster rollout of shots amid fears of a second wave

The Modi government plans to ramp up Covid-19 vaccinations to as many as five million a day in the coming weeks, a report in the Hindustan Times said which cited an official who is a part of the task force that oversees the vaccination programme. The sharp increase could be achieved in part by doubling the number of shots administered at every vaccination centre to 200. The faster rollout is likely to coincide with the start of the second phase of the programme that will target the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. Read more here

OPINION: Private sector can give the vaccination rollout a shot in the arm

High vaccination targets can be pulled off, but it can't be done by the government alone, said an opinion piece in ThePrint written by Nitin Pai, the director of the Takshashila Institution. Apart from elections, no public service in the country has been administered fully by the government alone. The fast rollout of Aadhaar to more than a billion people was thanks to the use of private-sector capabilities. Covid-19 testing rates improved significantly only after the Centre allowed private labs to perform the tests. The vaccination programme is no different. The rollout needs a boost from the private sector, as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and several industry leaders have pointed out in recent days, the opinion piece said. Read more here

Delhi to adopt cluster-based genome sequence testing to prevent fresh surge

As states like Maharashtra and Kerala witness a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the Delhi government has employed a series of measures to prevent a similar surge in the city, a report in ThePrint said. The administration in the national capital has been advised to stay vigilant and also use cluster-based genome sequence testing and surveillance strategy to ensure there is no fresh outbreak of cases, the report said citing sources in the Delhi government. Read more here

Over 7,500 variants of coronavirus identified in India: Study

As many as 7,684 variants of the novel coronavirus have been identified in India by researchers, a report in Business Today said. Researchers at Hyderabad's Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) highlighted the importance of keeping a close eye out for new strains and localised outbreaks. The research paper titled "SARS-CoV-2 genomics: An Indian perspective on sequencing viral variants" said escape mutations in the novel coronavirus can allow it to evade the immune response and in turn lead to unfavourable implications for vaccines and severity of the disease. Read more here

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