India took a pause as the Covid -19 cases in the country slowed during the last few months; however, the tide seems to be turning as fresh Covid cases registered in India in the last 24 hours stand at 12,881 with 101 deaths reported so far.
This even as news reports came in that the Maharashtra State government is contemplating a lockdown in Mumbai and Pune after fresh cases reported in Chembur.
The rise in cases in Pune has propelled Mayor Murlidhar Mohol to direct the municipal administration to ramp up testing and ensure the availability of beds in hospitals.
The PMC also stated that if needed, micro-containment zones may be announced in the city. As of now, Pune sees no restrictions in travel, and everything is open in the city, but the administration has indicated that if there is a spurt in the cases, then those specific areas will need t to be announced as micro- containment zones.
Pune cases rose drastically, with 864 new cases reported on Wednesday as opposed to below 200 per day – just a few days before.
Mohol added that in many cases, the people want to be treated in private hospitals, but there are only a few hospitals giving treatment to Covid -19 patients.
Hence the need to increase testing and also the number of beds in the hospitals is the need of the hour. The local police and the PMC have been asked to strengthen their vigil and take appropriate action against those not wearing masks.
Meanwhile, places in Mumbai too are registering a rise in cases, hence the government has warned the local population to adhere to wearing masks (which frighteningly people seem to have forgotten, especially while traveling in local trains which have recently been operational) and also maintain adequate social distancing norms, or else the lockdown in the Mumbai might be inevitable.
According to the Health Ministry, close to 92 lakh have been vaccinated in the country against the Covid -19 in India. These are healthcare workers and frontline workers belonging to nine states and Union Territories. The ministry also states that no case of deaths has been reported attributed to the vaccination to date.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16, 2021, the vaccination of front line workers began on February 2, 2021. The second dose of the vaccination is being administered from February 13.
New guidelines for International passengers.
New rules have been issued by the government for international passengers to “reduce the risk of importation of mutant strains” of coronavirus.
The guidelines are to come into effect from 23:59 hours on February 22 and mandate travelers to fill self-declaration forms and carry negative Covid -19 reports.
Those traveling in form and connecting flights from UK, Brazil, and South Africa, are required to give samples at a designated area.
The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation – new SOP will come into effect as mentioned above, “to reduce the risk of importation of mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2”.
Bahrain launches digital coronavirus vaccination passport.
Bahrain has become one of the world’s first countries to launch a digital Covid -19 vaccination passport. The ‘BeAware’ app displays a green shield alongside a certificate that mentions details of a person and the vaccine administered to the individual.
The Authorities can verify the validity by scanning a QR code linking to the national vaccine registered.
Bahrain has a population of around 1.5 million and is a small island state; and has initiated for its citizens free of charge several vaccines – Pfizer/ BioNtech, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
The rest of the world follows Bahrain’s footsteps
Following Bahrain’s digital coronavirus vaccination passport, other countries in the world too are set to initiate the same.
Denmark has said that it will shortly launch an initial version of a coronavirus vaccination passport by the end of February.
Sweden, too has said that it plans to launch a vaccine passport by the end of summer, this assuming that there is an international standard in place for the document by then.
Even as the cases of Covid -19 and its Mutant versions are holding the European nations, as well as parts of South America, in its grip, until now India has escaped the mutant virus with only a few cases being reported in passengers coming in from other international destinations.