As COVID-19 numbers surge in the country, two states have urged the Centre to widen the vaccination net to cover those younger than 60 years as, according to them, the mutant strain was infecting more people in the younger age group. COVID-19 numbers have been steadily going up in India in the past few weeks with March 22 marking a daily high of 46,951 cases, highest since November.

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Punjab Chief Minister, pushing for the relaxation in age bar, said that 81% of the 401 samples sent by the government for genome sequencing have tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19. He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to widen the vaccination ambit to cover those younger than 60 as the mutant has been found to be infecting young people more, an official statement quoting him said.

Similarly, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, voicing concern over rising cases of COVID-19 across the country, said there should be no age restriction for getting the COVID-19 vaccination. He also demanded that the Centre provide more vaccine  doses to the state, while noting that another lockdown would prove fatal to the livelihood of people.

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“Corona cases are increasing rapidly in the country. Experts are of the opinion that the government of India should focus more and more on vaccination.Public will be safe from corona only with maximum vaccination,” he said in a series of tweets.

Referring to the opinion of Dr Devi Shetty of Bengaluru, gehlot said it seems reasonable that people in the age group of 24 to 45 years should also be vaccinated soon as these people step out of home for work and can become super spreaders.

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Both states have already announced restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. The steps include night curfew, strict enforcement of mask rule and cap of crowd strength.

Singh’s appeal came after head of the state’s Covid expert committee Dr K K Talwar apprised him of developments on the new variant in the state, which has been witnessing a surge in the number of cases in the last few weeks, reports PTI.