COVID-19 updates: India asks EU to list Covishield, Covaxin in ‘Green Pass’; Uttarakhand moves SC over Char Dham Yatra

India on Wednesday requested the European Union member states to include both Covishied and COVAXIN in their exemption list for the vaccine passport likely to come into effect from 1 July, government sources told ANI.

Sources told ANI the genuineness of such vaccination certification can be authenticated on the CoWIN portal. “We have also conveyed to EU Member States that India will institute a reciprocal policy for recognition of the EU Digital Covid Certificate,” sources said.

Indian health authorities would reciprocally exempt the concerned EU Member State for exemption from mandatory quarantine all those persons carrying EU Digital Covid Certificate, sources further told ANI.

Private hospitals to place vaccine orders on CoWIN

Also, starting 1 July, private hospitals in the country will no longer be allowed to directly procure COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturers and have to place orders on the Centre’s CoWIN portal, as per ANI.

All private hospitals have to register on CoWIN as a Private COVID Vaccination Centre (PCVC) to participate in the aggregation mechanism. Most hospitals have already registered on the portal, sources stated.

“States and UTs will be informed by MoHFW, about the total quantum of doses available for private CVCs in a month for them. They will aggregate the demand from private CVCs, keeping these quantities in mind,” a statement from the Union health ministry said.

This, as India logged 45,951 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,03,62,848, while daily fatalities remained below 1,000 for the third consecutive day, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday. The toll rose to 3,98,454 with 817 fresh fatalities, the lowest in 81 days.

According to the data published at 7 am, cumulatively 33.28 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the Nationwide Vaccination Drive. The active cases further declined to 5,37,064 comprising 1.77 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 96.92 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed.

As many as 19,60,757 tests were conducted on Tuesday taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 41,01,00,044, while the daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.34 per cent. It has been less than five percent for 23 consecutive days, the ministry said, adding the weekly positivity rate has declined to 2.69 percent.

Recoveries continue to outnumber daily new cases for the 48th consecutive day. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,94,27,330 and the case fatality rate stands at 1.31 percent, the data stated.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian government announced the temporary suspension of its 20 million dose COVID-19 vaccine contract with Bharat Biotech following allegations of irregularities in the deal, with the Indian drugmaker insisting that it has not received any advance payments.

The Hyderabad-based firm for its part said it has not received any advance payments and that the company has followed a “similar approach” in Brazil towards contracts, regulatory approvals and supplies in several countries worldwide, where COVAXIN is being supplied successfully.

Also on Wednesday, aviation regulator DGCA announced that the coronavirus -induced suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till 31 July

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to issue fresh guidelines for providing minimum standards of financial help to families of those who lost their lives to COVID-19 .

Uttarakhand moves SC against HC’s Char Dham verdict

The Uttarakhand government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, challenging the high court’s stay on the Char Dham Yatra. “We have gone to the apex court against the high court’s stay on the yatra,” state minister Subodh Uniyal told reporters.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the state government’s arrangements for pilgrims and tourists during the yatra amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma stayed the decision to permit residents of Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts to visit Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

The state cabinet had on 25 June decided to open the yatra for the residents of these districts where the famous Himalayan temples are located. On the state government’s assertion that live streaming rituals performed at the temples was against the traditions, the court said it is being sympathetic towards the emotions of the priests.

The court made the observations while hearing a petition related to the risks involved in conducting the yatra amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Rejecting the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the state government for the yatra, the court said they were just a copy of the guidelines issued during the Kumbh Mela.

‘Always situation where some will have to wait’

As per ANI, Serum Insitute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla, speaking at the India Global Forum, said there was always going to be a situation where countries will have to wait for some of the nations which could afford vaccines.

“That’s exactly where COVAX plays a role we had, in fact, started to export doses from India. We have exported 60 million doses between January and February which is perhaps more than any other country. Then the second wave hit us and the focus shifted to Indian population because it was needed then,” he said.

‘Not waiting for Centre’s approval’: Maharashtra tells Bombay HC

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that it would soon start home vaccination against COVID-19 for people who are immobile or bedridden on an experimental basis, and would not wait for an approval from the Centre.

State Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni that home vaccination on a trial and experimental basis would be introduced in Pune district first.

“We will not refer the proposal to start home vaccination to the Centre for approval. We (state government) will take our own decision. We will explore this possibility (home vaccination) on a trial basis in Pune district,” Kumbhakoni said.

The state government on Tuesday filed an affidavit in the high court, saying there would be conditions imposed, like taking a written consent from the beneficiary’s family and a certificate from the family doctor taking responsibility in case of any adverse reaction to the vaccine.

With inputs from PTI