India PM Vows Larger Federal Role in Vaccine Procurement

In a nationwide address Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the federal government would take a larger role in obtaining vaccines for Indian states.“Government of India itself will buy 75% of the total vaccine production from vaccine manufacturers and give it free to the state governments.”FILE PHOTO: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering in Ahmedabad, India, March 12, 2021.According to the New York Times, less than 4% of Indians have been fully vaccinated.India’s health ministry on Monday reported 100,636 new COVID-19 infections, the lowest tally in 61 days, and 2,427 deaths in the previous 24-hour period.In other COVID-19 news, Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock said Sunday the delta variant of the coronavirus, first identified in India, may be up to 40% more transmissible than the alpha variant.The delta variant has become the dominant strain in Britain, replacing the alpha variant first identified in Kent, Hancock told reporters. It is possible the delta variant could threaten plans to lift lockdown restrictions by June 21, he said.Hancock stressed the importance of Britons getting their vaccinations. Early data show the vaccine is effective against the delta variant after people have received both doses, he said.People queue outside a vaccination center for those aged over 18 years old at the Belmont Health Center in Harrow, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in London, June 6, 2021.Currently, 40% of the United Kingdom’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. New cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, have dropped dramatically since the United Kingdom began its vaccination campaign.Uganda began a 42-day pandemic lockdown Monday, including the closing of schools and universities, and suspended public gatherings, including in churches and mosques.Public transportation will be suspended starting Thursday.The country has seen an uptick in cases in recent weeks, and officials say the current wave is impacting people 20 to 39 years of age.The global count of COVID-19 cases reached 173.4 million Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

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