India’s vulnerable persons to get coronavirus vaccine in November

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… Lockdown extended until August in Bengal

INDIGENT citizens in India may be immunised against COVID-19 as early as November, if proposed trials of the Oxford vaccine prove successful.

  The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine producer by volume, has applied for permission from the Indian drug regulatory body to begin the third and final stage of testing in August.

  After having inked a deal with Oxford University and AstraZeneca, the SII will test the vaccine which has elicited an immune response on volunteers in trials in the United Kingdom

  The exercise is expected to capture thousands of front-line health workers in eleven hospitals in India.

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  Meanwhile, the Indian state of West Bengal has extended its lockdown until August 31, 2020.

  This was disclosed by the Indian Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee during a news conference yesterday.

  According to him, the lockdown will largely be a “general” one, meaning essential services will run and industrial activity will be allowed.

  But in nine days in August, the East Indian state will go into a “complete” lockdown, with everyone required to stay indoors.

  West Bengal has 60,830 cases of coronavirus including 1,411 deaths and 39,917 recoveries, according to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as at today.

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  “We need to break the chain, if we can block the virus even to a certain extent, we should take whatever steps we can,” Banerjee said.

  “A lot of people think that the numbers are too high, but earlier we had one lab for tests, now we have 56,” she said.

  Banerjee added that the state’s health infrastructure had improved significantly in the last eight to nine years.

  India has more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases, the third highest tally in the world according to Johns Hopkins University.

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