NEW DELHI: Amid an acute shortage of vaccines, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday asked the Centre to buy vaccines and distribute them to the state governments, and said this is not the time for blame game and petty politics.
Noting that the national capital recorded around 900 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the chief minister stressed that if new infections continue to decline, more activities will be allowed to open up in the city.
Kejriwal said the AAP government “just wants vaccines” for Delhi and sought to know where is the politicisation in that.
The chief minister also said till yesterday, there were 450 cases of mucormycosis or black fungus in Delhi government hospitals.
On Saturday, he visited the Delhi government’s drive-through COVID-19 vaccination centre at the Chhatrasal Stadium.
Asked about politicisation of the issue of vaccine procurement, Kejriwal said the Delhi government “want just vaccines”.
“Where is the politicisation in this? The people need vaccines, they (Centre) should tell where should we get the vaccines from.
The central government has to procure the vaccines, after doing so they should give them to us and we will administer them to everyone,” he said.
Stating that this is “not the time for petty politics or to play the blame game”, he said vaccination is the only solution to this problem.
“This is not the time for finger-pointing. This is not the time for debate and counter. The country is suffering from a pandemic. The experience of the entire world shows that vaccination is the sole solution for this.”
“So they (Centre) should buy vaccines for the entire country and distribute them to the state governments. We will administer them. Why are they debating over this is beyond my understanding,” he said.
The process of lifting the lockdown gradually in the capital will begin from Monday, starting with resumption of construction activities and reopening of factories for a week, Kejriwal had announced on Friday.
The phase-wise unlocking process in Delhi will begin after over six weeks of lockdown enforced in view of the second wave of COVID-19.
“Yesterday we announced that two activities – construction activities and factories — can be opened up because the poor such as migrant labourers have faced the most difficult time during the lockdown.
“Today, around 900 cases have emerged for the first time, I hope that as and when the cases keep on decreasing in the upcoming weeks, we will continue to unlock further. We want the economic activities to come back on track so that the economy can be revived,” Kejriwal said.
Delhi recorded 956 cases on Saturday, the lowest since March 21, when the national capital had reported 823 cases.
Kejriwal also asked the traders to not rush and panic and assured them that when the situation will ease, everything will be opened up.
“I can understand the troubles of the traders and I can understand their anxiety. I read in the newspapers that they are a bit upset. I want to tell them that it was with great difficulty that we were able to control the situation by imposing a lockdown.”
“I can understand their difficulty but they should be patient and should not rush. We also want their markets and shops to open up and as and when the situation comes under control, we will open up everything,” he said.
Kejriwal said there are about 450 cases of black fungus, according to data till Friday.
“I have black fungus data till yesterday. There are two kinds, that of Delhi government and that of private hospitals and the central government hospitals on the other hand.
“In the Delhi government hospitals, there are about 450 cases of black fungus. The central government hospitals are dealing directly with the Centre,” he told reporters.
He said the Delhi government has demanded medicines accordingly.
“I understand that there is a countrywide paucity of medicines. The central government is giving whatever it can. As I understand, more injections of this medicine will be procured and will be distributed to all the state governments,” he added.
Amid rising incidents of black fungus in the national capital, the Delhi government had on Thursday declared it an epidemic.
The Delhi government has floated a global expression of interest (EOI) for procurement of COVID-19 vaccine on an urgent basis.
He said the Delhi government is making all efforts from their side but “till now all the governments which floated a global tender, their outcomes have not been very fruitful”.
“So we have also floated it in the hope that a company comes forward, but on a general note, from what I have understood is that all the big vaccine manufacturing companies of the world want to deal directly with the central government and are communicating directly with them.
“So only time will tell as to how successful the different state governments will be but we have floated a global tender from our side.”
At the Chhatrasal Stadium, he said, “People can come here in their cars, motorcycles, or even on foot, and can get vaccinated here.
Right now, this has been initiated for those above the age of 45 years because there is no vaccine for those below the age of 45 years.
“As soon as adequate vaccines arrive, vaccination for those below the age of 45 (18-45 years) will also be started,” he said.
He also interacted with some people who had come there and said they were very happy with the entire arrangement and by the fact that they have gotten vaccinated, he said.