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Health ministry asks NE states to increase COVID-19 vaccination pace

NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry today asked the northeastern states to increase the number of COVID-19 vaccination beneficiaries.

The health ministry has noted that almost all the north eastern states have recorded minimum vaccination today.

According to government statistics, Assam vaccinated 162 beneficiaries, Manipur 360, Meghalaya 482, Mizoram 872, Nagaland 547 and Sikkim 257 on Wednesday. There was no vaccination in Tripura on Wednesday.

A total of 23.29 lakh beneficiaries have vaccinated across the country since the vaccination drive started on January 16. Over 2.99 lakh people were vaccinated till 6 pm on Wednesday, government record said.

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Five states — Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — registered 79 per cent vaccination. A total of 123 adverse event following immunisation have been reported so far and 16 have been hospitalised and nine deaths have been reported till date.

“The deaths have not been causally linked with COVID-19 vaccination,” the ministry said though.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has, meanwhile, issued fresh COVID-19 guidelines for the month of February.

The guidelines are focused to consolidate the gains that have been achieved against the spread of the pandemic.

“There is need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy focused on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines/ SOPs issued by MHA and ministry of health & family welfare (MOHFW),” the MHA said in a statement.

The new guidelines stipulate:

  • Social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings have already been permitted up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces; and keeping the size of the ground/ space in view, in open spaces. Now such gatherings will be allowed subject to SOP of the state/ Union Territory (UT) concerned.
  • Cinema halls and theatres have already been permitted up to 50 per cent of seating capacity. Now they will be permitted to operate at higher seating capacity, for which a revised SOP will be issued by ministry of information and broadcasting in consultation with MHA.
  •  Swimming pools have already been permitted for use of sportspersons. Now swimming pools will be permitted for use of all, for which a revised SOP will be issued by ministry of youth affairs and sports (MoYA&S) in consultation with MHA.
  • Business to business (B2B) exhibition halls have already been permitted. Now all types of exhibition halls will be permitted, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the department of commerce in consultation with MHA.
  • For further opening up of international air travel of passengers, ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) may take a decision in consultation with MHA based on the assessment of the situation.
  • SOPs, as updated from time to time, have been prescribed for various activities. These include: movement by passenger trains, air travel, metro trains, schools, higher educational institutions, hotels and restaurants, shopping malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks, yoga centres and gymnasiums, etc. These SOPs shall be strictly enforced by the authorities concerned, who shall be responsible for their strict observance.
  • There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods including those for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.
  • State/ UT governments shall take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and ensure wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.
  • Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to take necessary precautions.

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