Covid: Over 150 Army troops in Delhi for Republic Day test positive

Republic Day 2021 parade is still on, but may have more restrictions, meanwhile dry run of Covid-19 vaccine plan to be held on December 28 and 29 in 4 states


Republic Day 2021, like all other national celebrations, will be under a Covid-19 cloud. According to news reports, more than 150 Army troops, who are now in New Delhi in preparation for the Republic Day Parade 2021, have already tested positive for Covid-19. This news which may result in some changes in the parade, even though the Ministry of Defence has not announced any changes so far. According to the news reports, the parade is on for now and there is no proposal to not have the marching contingents.

The troops who have tested positive have been isolated and are undergoing treatment as needed. All of them are said to have been a part of the contingents that march down the Rajpath on January 26. According to multiple news reports, including NDTV, the Army troops had come to New Delhi from s across the country, and reached in the last week of November. All of them underwent Covid tests, and 150 of them have tested positive.

There are still doubts over UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson being able to attend the Republic Day parade as chief guests. India’s leading farmers’ union leaders have said they will write to the Members of Parliament in Britain that they do not want this visit till their demands are met by the Indian government. The farmers of India, have been protesting for months against the three newly enacted farm laws-Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and the Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Johnson also has to deal with the crisis at home, after “rapidly-spreading mutated version of the novel coronavirus” has surfaced in the United Kingdom. India has already suspended all flights coming from the UK till December 31. 

Meanwhile, the dry run of the proposed Covid-19 vaccine roll out plan is scheduled to be held on December 28 and 29 in Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Assam. According to news reports in this dry run, each state will hold trials in two districts, and five sessions across district hospitals, community and primary health centres, urban sites, private health facilities and rural sites.

According to official statements, the dry run includes the proposed vaccine introduction and roll-out, and detailed training modules have been developed for different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators including medical officers, vaccinators, alternate vaccinators, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers, and ASHA coordinators.

The training includes operational aspects such as: organisation of vaccination sessions, use of Co-WIN IT platform for management of the entire vaccination process,  deployment of HR  Cold chain preparedness, Management of adverse events,  communications and intersectoral coordination, biomedical waste management,  infection prevention protocols etc. According to the health ministry, state level trainings had been completed in all States/UTs with participation of more than 7000 district level trainees, except Lakshadweep which will conduct it on December 29.

While the final Vaccine is still awaited the dry run is to set in place “end-to-end mobilisation and testing of COVID-19 vaccination process and check the usage of Co-WIN in field environment, the linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms and identify challenges,” before the actual implementation begins.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended three prioritised population groups including  Healthcare Workers (HCWs) (about 1 crore), Frontline Workers (FLWs) (about 2 crore), and Prioritized Age Group (about 27 crore), stated the government.

Meanwhile, India has recorded 2,81,667 active Covid-19 cases, with 336 new deaths in the last 24 hours. India’s overall recovery rate is said to have improved to 95.77 per cent on Friday. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the gap between the recovered and active cases is also “steadily increasing and presently stands at 94,35,915.” 



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