India Starts Mass Vaccination against Coronavirus in a Week

India Starts Mass Vaccination against Coronavirus in a Week

India will begin mass vaccinations against the novel corona virus next Saturday. By the end of July, a total of 300 million people should receive the vaccine free of charge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday. 1.3 billion people live in India.

A week ago, the Indian authorities issued emergency approval for two corona vaccines. The vaccine from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the Indian company Bharat Biotech vaccine have been approved for "restricted use."

The exodus of migrant workers raises concerns

Indian authorities were trying Monday to curb the exodus of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, deprived of work due to the confinement decided to fight against the coronavirus, which risks thwarting the fight against the disease in the second-most populous country in the world.

After the lockdown began on Wednesday, these unemployed workers left large cities, particularly Delhi, to return to their villages, sometimes walking very long distances with very little money and food.

This exodus has raised fears about the spread of the virus. Many found themselves crowded by the authorities into buses or relief camps.

Authorities in the Indian capital closed the region's borders on Sunday evening in an attempt to stop departures and ordered the installation of shelters. As of Monday, crowds had disappeared in the Delhi suburbs and authorities said they were feeding 400,000 people, with more than 550 schools turned into shelters. According to the Times of India daily, some 5,000 people were installed on a racing circuit near Delhi.

According to local authorities, the state of Maharashtra (center), whose capital is Bombay, has set up 262 emergency camps sheltering 70,399 people.

A video, posted to Twitter by a Times of India reporter and The Hindu daily, showed migrants returning by bus to the state apparently sprayed with disinfectant by men dressed in protective suits.

According to police sources, in Gujarat (West), clashes pitted several hundred migrant workers against the police in Surate on Sunday evening who were preventing them from passing. More than 90 migrant workers have been arrested.

According to the last official count on Sunday, India, a country of 1.3 billion inhabitants, has recorded more than a thousand infections with 29 deaths. Many experts wonder about these figures, pointing to the low number of people tested.

More than 10.3 million people have been infected there since the beginning of the pandemic, and over 150,000 people have died of or with the virus.

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