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The Centre today told the Supreme Court there is more than adequate stock of oxygen to meet the demand and that there is no need to panic. “There is no shortage of medical oxygen in the country, supply being augmented for COVID-19 relief,” the Centre said, at the hearing on issues related to COVID-19.

Earlier, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to adopt national immunisation model as poor people will not be able to pay for coronavirus vaccines. “What happens to the marginalised and SC/ST population? Should they be left to the mercy of private hospitals,” it asked.

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The top court said the government must consider National Immunisation Programme for various vaccines and must think of providing free vaccination to all citizens. Private vaccine manufacturers cannot be allowed to decide which state should get how much, it added.

 

The Supreme Court yet again questioned the government over the pricing of vaccines. “Why is the government not buying 100 per cent of doses produced in this time? Why should there be two prices for the centre and the states… what is the rationale,” it asked.

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Further, it said no state should clampdown information if citizens communicate their grievances on social media. “We don’t want any clampdown of information. We will treat it as a contempt of court if such grievances is considered for action. Let a strong message go to all the states and DGP of states”, the Supreme Court said.

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Coronavirus has infected over 3.86 lakh people in India in yet another worrying high and killed 3,498 the last 24 hours. The record numbers come even as a huge international aid operation has been launched with many countries promising help.