One of the newly infected people was Delhi
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who spoke at an election rally on Monday
without wearing a mask. Similar rallies have been held across states voting in
the next few months in upcoming ballots.
Kejriwal said in a Twitter post he had
isolated at home and urged those who came in touch with him in recent days to
do similar and be tested for COVID-19.
The country’s death toll rose by 124 to
reach a total of 482,017. Total infections stand at 34.96 million.
INDIA STARTS VACCINATING TEENS
India vaccinated more than 3.8 million
teens aged between 15 and 18 years as of Monday, as the country expanded an
inoculation effort to protect its large adolescent population ahead of a
looming wave of coronavirus infections.
The teenagers, many wearing their uniforms,
queued at schools and health centres across the country as health workers
injected them with Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin – the only COVID-19 vaccine so far
approved by India for those below 18 years.
The drive has come amid a sharp rise in
cases in India, with the federal health ministry on Monday reporting 33,750 new
infections and 123 deaths. The total number of cases of the fast-spreading
Omicron variant detected in India was 1,700.
Data from the health ministry’s CoWIN
portal showed that 3.85 million doses of vaccines had been administered to
those aged between 15 and 17 years on Monday.
Kishan Bhuyan, 17, queued with friends in
the eastern city of Bhubaneswar after registering online for the COVID-19 jab.
“I was waiting for this (vaccination)
for so long,” Bhuyan, a high school student, said after receiving his
vaccine. “I am now protected.”
Several countries including the United
States, Britain and South Korea have seen infections among children fuelling a
rise in cases in recent weeks and have encouraged parents to get their children
India has more than 120 million people aged
between 15 and 19 years, according to the country’s 2011 Census, and the
largest population of adolescents in the world, as per UNICEF estimates.
Some Indian states have set ambitious
vaccination targets. Authorities in Gujarat, which is Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s home state, are hoping to give a first dose to 3.6 million teens this
“We have the capacity and we have the
vaccines to cover most of the children. We appeal to parents to cooperate and
ensure the children are vaccinated at the earliest,” said Jai Prakash
Shivahare, Gujarat’s health commissioner.