17:50 GMT20 January 2021
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    India, which has been preparing for the mass vaccination of its 1.3 billion population, has yet to announce when the campaign will kick off. Meanwhile, the country has confirmed 22,272 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those infected having reached 10,169,118.

    The Indian government has begun a two-day dry run for the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines in two districts of four states -- Punjab, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat. This dry run will involve the management of any adverse effects after immunisation, cold storage, and transportation arrangements.

    "This exercise will enable end-to-end mobilisation and testing of the COVID-19 vaccination process (except the vaccine) and check the usage of CoWIN in a field environment, linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms, identify challenges and guide the way forward prior to actual implementation including improvements that may be required in the envisaged process", the Health Ministry said in a statement.

    The CoWIN app, an online platform, was launched by the government for monitoring vaccine delivery. The whole process will also include crowd management at distribution centres with proper physical distancing.

    All four states have been asked to record and report their observations to the central government.

    One official from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh said, "We're testing the preparedness of cold chain, CoWIN software, and vaccination programme through 25 beneficiaries".

    The Indian Health Ministry reported that at this moment there are 277,301 active COVID-19 cases in the country. Some 9,782,669 people have already recovered from the virus. Daily recoveries have been outnumbering daily new cases for more than a month now.


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