Poor as well as multi-millionaire of 18 years and above to get free Covid jabs: Centre to SC

CHANDIGARH: With Punjab running out of coronavirus vaccine Covishield and left with only one day’s stock of Covaxin, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday reiterated the need for enhanced supplies from the Centre, his office said Friday.

The increase in supplies was critical also because the state on Friday lifted weekend and night curfews and allowed reopening of colleges, cinema halls, malls, restaurants, bars and gyms to those who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“With the state running out of Covishield & left with only one day’s stock of Covaxin, CM @Capt_Amarinder Singh again stressed the need for increase in vaccine supplies from Centre,” the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted.

During a Covid review meet, the chief minister directed officials to continue pursuing aggressively with the Centre enhancing the state’s quota of vaccine.

Pointing out that Punjab has already vaccinated nearly 83 lakh eligible people (approximately 27 per cent of population) — 70 lakh first doses, 13 lakh second — the Chief Minister said the stock was being utilised in the state without any wastage.

Punjab was able to utilise more than six lakh doses in a single day when adequate supply was received, he noted at the Covid review meeting.

Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan told the meeting that the administration was following up with the Centre for more doses.

Meanwhile, the CM also asked the departments concerned to step up whole genome sequencing (WGS) to expeditiously identify cases of new Covid variant and to fast track execution of an MoU with the Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR) for a regional institute of virology at Mohali.

Though no fresh cases of Delta Plus variant (apart from two reported earlier based on May sampling) have been identified in the state, the Chief Minister directed that the WGS Lab at GMCH Patiala must become functional this month.

The CM noted with satisfaction that the state was also starting dry swab testing, with a pilot at government medical college Patiala next week.