New Delhi: Leaders of as many as 13 opposition parties in a joint statement have asked the Central government to launch a free mass vaccination drive across the country in view of the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases. The signatories include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, JDS leader and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.
According to the joint statement, “In times of the uncontrollable surge of the pandemic across our country, We call upon the Central government to focus all attention in ensuring the uninterrupted flow of Oxygen supplies to all hospitals and health centre across the country.”
“We call upon the Central government to immediately launch a free Mass vaccination programme across the country,” it said, adding “The budgetary allocation at Rs 35,000 crore for the vaccination programme must be utilised for this.”
Notably, the deadly COVID wave claimed a record 3,689 more lives and active cases crossed the 33-lakh mark in India as Haryana and Odisha joined several other states that have been forced to reimpose lockdown or similar curbs in order to check the surge amid a shortage of hospital beds, medicines and oxygen for patients.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly reviewed various measures to augment human resources for effective management of the COVID-19 situation and possible steps discussed include incentivising students and pass-outs of medical and nursing courses to join the pandemic duty.
According to the Union Health Ministry, a total of 86,023 beneficiaries in the age group of 18-44 years received their first dose of COVID vaccine across 11 states on May 1 when phase 3 commenced.
The infection count climbed to 1,95,57,457 with 3,92,488 more people being confirmed positive for the disease. States like Tamil Nadu and West Bengal recorded their highest daily rise in cases on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 15.68 crores.
(With Agency Inputs)