India logged 16,504 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and 214 related deaths between Sunday and Monday morning, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare, which have taken the country’s tally to 10,340,469. There were 16,432 cases of the coronavirus disease on December 29 last year. The number of active cases of Covid-19 remained below the 250,000 mark for the second day on a row at 243,953.

According to the health ministry, 9,946,867 people have recovered so far with 19,557 patients of Covid-19 cured or discharged across the country in the last 24 hours. The national recovery rate has gone up to 96.19%. The daily new recoveries have been more than the daily cases registered since the last 38 days, the health ministry’s data shows. The gap between recovered and active cases has widened further and now stands at 9,702,914. 

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Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani on Sunday approved Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, and Bharat Biotech International Limited’s Covaxin for restricted emergency use, clearing way for the government’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease in about 10 days. However, the emergency use approval to the Serum Institute of India (SII) vaccine against Covid-19 developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and the “restricted use in emergency situation” consent to Bharat Biotech’s locally developed vaccine has triggered a debate among experts.

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Meanwhile, SII’s Adar Poonawalla has told Associated Press that the government will not allow the export of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for several months. Poonawall said his company also has been barred from selling the vaccine on the private market. “We can only give (the vaccines) to the government of India at the moment,” Poonawalla told AP, adding the decision was also made to prevent hoarding.

The Pune-based company’s chief executive also said the first 100 million doses of the vaccine were being sold to the government at a “special price” of Rs 200 per dose, after which prices would be higher. The vaccine will be sold on the private market at Rs 1,000, he said. He said vaccines could be delivered to states where they were needed within seven to 10 days of the company finalising a deal with the Centre.

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