05:49 GMT15 June 2021
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    In April, Delhi was forced into lockdown as the state witnessed a massive surge in COVID-19 cases. The Indian capital has recorded 1,600 new coronavirus cases and 233 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours.

    Delhi State Chief Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said it would be possible for the region to escape a third COVID wave if everyone is vaccinated.

    “Our top priority is to see how we can vaccinate people as quickly as possible. However, there is a shortage across the country," Kejriwal said during his weekly COVID presser. "There is also an apprehension about a third wave. If we vaccinate everyone, we might be able to avoid it. I am personally speaking to vaccine manufacturers about availability. We are ready to buy vaccines from any authorised company, irrespective of the costs involved. We are even willing to spend an amount that is equivalent to Delhi’s budget to get everyone inoculated."

    Currently, the vaccination drive for people in the 18-44 age group in Delhi has stalled due to jab shortages.

    "We are sure that the city would get help from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to combat the shortage," he added.

    So far, five million people in Delhi have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

    Meanwhile, the state chief has extended the ongoing lockdown in Delhi by another week until 31 May. Lockdown measures in the capital were first announced on 19 April. 

    "Every Sunday, we sit down and decide whether the lockdown should be extended. The April-May wave was very dangerous and Delhi was the first one to impose a lockdown… We have been asking people about this and most feel that the shutdown should be extended for another week so that we do not lose the gains,” Kejriwal said. 

    He also hinted that if cases continue to fall his government will begin relaxing restrictions from next week. 

    “Daily cases are still above 1,000. So, we are extending it until 31 May. If cases keep decreasing like they are right now, we will start the process of unlocking next week. We will not open everything all at once. Unlocking will be gradual,” he added.

    The Aam Aadmi Party leader also highlighted that health infrastructure including beds, oxygen, and intensive care unit (ICUs) are being readied in preparation for the potential third COVID wave.

    According to the PM Modi-appointed COVID Supermodel Committee, which makes projections on the spread of the pandemic, the third wave is likely to hit the country in the next six to eight months.


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