Amid slow vaccination drive, Maharashtra looks to import jabs to prevent third COVID wave

The city on Monday recorded a steep drop in new coronavirus cases at 1,794, the lowest single-day count in nearly two months, while 74 patients succumbed to the infection.

Published: 11th May 2021 12:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th May 2021 12:57 PM   |  A+A-

A woman receives a vaccine for COVID-19 in her car at a drive-in vaccination centre in Mumbai. (Photo| AP)


MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has been asked to explore the possibility of global procurement of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure efficient inoculation, Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray said on Monday.

In a series of tweets, he said work was also on to ensure those not well-versed with technology or those who are unable to operate the CoWin app get access to vaccines in time.

"Looking at the need for adequate vaccines to ensure that vaccination is swift & efficient, after discussing the issue with CM Uddhav Thackeray ji, as guardian minister of Mumbai, we have asked @mybmc to explore possibilities of global procurement of vaccines," he tweeted.

"Our efforts to increase vaccination centres are constantly on going and the @mybmc shall be having a centre in every municipal ward, along with a drive in vaccination centre across all zones of Mumbai, on my humble request to @mayor_mumbai @KishoriPednekar ji and MC Chahal ji," Thackeray said in another tweet.

The Worli MLA said BMC, on Monday, issued guidelines on housing societies partnering with hospitals for inoculation within society complexes.

The city on Monday recorded a steep drop in new coronavirus cases at 1,794, the lowest single-day count in nearly two months, while 74 patients succumbed to the infection, the city civic body said.

With the addition of 1,794 new coronavirus infections and 74 fresh fatalities, the financial capital's cumulative caseload rose to 6,78,269 and the toll to 13,891, according to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) updated data.

After a gap of 54 days, Mumbai has logged less than 2,000 COVID-19 cases in a day.

Earlier on March 16, the metropolis had witnessed 1,922 new cases.

Also, for the 10th day in a row, Mumbai's daily COVID-19 case count remained below the 4,000-mark though the number of fatalities has fluctuated between 62 and 90 during the period.

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Fewer coronavirus tests over the weekend could have led to a significant drop in the number of new infections.

According to the BMC, 23,061 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, taking the number of samples examined so far to 57,33,431.

Mumbai reported 609 less new infections, but half a dozen more fatalities as compared to Sunday, when it had reported 2,403 cases and 68 fatalities.

As per the BMC, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Mumbai has gone down to 45,534.

In the last 24 hours, 3,580 patients were discharged from hospitals, pushing the number of recovered cases to 6,16,998, according to the BMC data.

Mumbai's COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 91 per cent.

As per the BMC, the city's average growth rate of COVID-19 cases for the period May 3 and May 9 was 0.41 per cent, while the case doubling rate was 163 days.

According to the civic body, Mumbai has 87 active containment zones in slums and 'chawls' (old row tenements), while 493 buildings have been sealed after a certain number of their residents tested positive for coronavirus.

The number of sealed buildings has gone down below 500 after a gap of more than a month.

Mumbai had reported the highest-ever 11,163 new COVID-19 cases on April 4, whereas during the second wave the highest single-day fatalities - at 90- were recorded on May 1, 2021.

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Mumbai has been registering a steady drop in daily cases, earning praise from the Supreme Court for its COVID-19 management.

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court has permitted Biovet Private Limited, an associate company of Bharat Biotech, to take possession of a fully operational and ready-to-use vaccine manufacturing plant on a 12-hectare plot in Pune to produce Covaxin.

Bharat Biotech produces Covaxin, a vaccine against COVID-19.

A division bench of Justices K K Tated and N R Borkar on May 6 heard an application filed by Karnataka's Biovet Private Limited seeking direction to the Maharashtra government to hand over possession of the manufacturing unit at Manjari Khurd village in Pune.

The unit was being used by Intervet India Pvt Ltd, a multinational and subsidiary of Merck & Co, after land was granted to it in 1973 to manufacture vaccine for Foot and Mouth Disease.

Intervet is exiting business operations in India and entered into an agreement with Biovet to transfer the land and manufacturing unit to the latter.

When Biovet sought the government's approval for the transfer, the deputy conservator of forests (Pune division) pointed out that it was a reserved forest and the initial 1973 grant itself was bad.

Biovet then approached HC in challenge and, in an interim application, also sought direction to the government to grant it licences and permissions to enable the manufacture of vaccine for Foot Mouth Disease as well as Covaxin.

RD Soni, appearing for Biovet, argued that the unit and machinery was lying idle due to delay in handing over possession of the land.

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He also told the court the company would not claim any equity in respect to the land in question.

The company also submitted an undertaking stating it would use the unit to manufacture Covaxin.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the court the Maharashtra government had no objection if the company used the unit for manufacturing lifesaving vaccines, including Covaxin, but it should not claim any right, title and interest in future.

Kumbhakoni further told the court if the company filed applications seeking permissions, the state government shall consider the same expeditiously.

The HC said considering the COVID-19 situation, the concerned authorities are directed to handover peaceful possession of the ready-to-use BSL-3 vaccine manufacturing facility.

"The respondent (state government) is directed to grant appropriate licences/permissions/NOCs to the applicant (Biovet) in a time-bound manner to enable manufacture of the Food and Mouth Disease vaccine, Covaxin and other life saving vaccines," the HC said.

India Matters


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