India and COVID-19 vaccines: A national crisis with global ripples

The #SupremeCourt, taking note of different prices of #COVID19 vaccines for the Centre, states and private hospitals, asked the Central government to explain to it the “rationale and basis” behind such a policy.

India and COVID-19 vaccines: A national crisis with global ripples Photo

Meanwhile, Australia became the latest country to impose restrictions on travel from India. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the suspension of all direct passenger flights till 15 May due to the very significant spike in COVID-19

On a day when Indias daily COVID-19 tally remained above 3 lakh and deaths from the virus remained over 2,000 for the eighth consecutive day, the Supreme Court called the situation in India a national crisis and said that it cannot remain a mute spectator.

The apex court bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud further stated that its suo motu proceedings on devising national policy for COVID-19 management is not meant to supplant the high courts across the country and that these courts are in a better position to monitor the situation within their boundaries.

This, on the same day, that the EC banned all victory processions on 2 May both during and after the counting of votes in order to check the spread of the novel coronavirus . The Election Commission also directed that only two persons can accompany winning candidates to receive certificates of election from Returning Officers.

Meanwhile, Australia became the latest country to impose restrictions on travel from India. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the suspension of all direct passenger flights till 15 May due to the "very significant" spike in COVID-19 cases.

Also on Tuesday, Western Australia premiere Mark McGowan questioned the reliability of COVID-19 tests conducted in India, saying the tests were impinging on the integrity of the system and causing some issues in Melbourne.

The Supreme Court took note of different prices of COVID-19 vaccines for Centre, states and the private hospitals and asked the Central Government to explain to it the “rationale and basis” behind such a pricing policy. The top court, hearing a suo motu case related to "distribution of essential supplies and services during pandemic", also asked the Centre as to how it was going to meet the sudden surge in demand of vaccines from 1 May when vaccination for all above 18 years of age would begin.

“The Union of India shall clarify in its affidavit the basis and rationale adopted in regard to the pricing of vaccines,” said the bench while fixing the suo motu case for hearing on Friday.

“Different manufacturers are coming out with different prices. What is Centre doing about it?” asked the bench, which also comprised Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat. The bench also asked the Centre to apprise the top court of the modalities on the distribution of oxygen as well as the vaccines to states and the monitoring mechanism.

The Delhi High Court came down heavily on the state government in a hearing, saying its confidence in the government is shaken and telling authorities to put their house in order.

“Set your house in order. Enough is enough. If you cannot manage it, tell us then we will ask the Central government to send their officers. We will ask them to take over. We cannot let people die like this,” the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said while hearing a case on shortage of oxygen supply and COVID-19 essentials.

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