India added less than 3 lakh COVID-19 cases in a single day on May 17, for the first time since April 21. The country reported 2,81,386 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total tally to 2,49,65,463, according to the Health Ministry.
The 24-hour death toll is at 4,106 while recoveries are at 3,78,741. The total number of vaccines administered across the state currently stands at 18.29 crore with 6,91,211 new vaccinations.
However, Punjab has seen the highest mortality rate at 2.4 percent and has currently inoculated 34 lakh people, out of which 6.7 lakh have received the second dose of the vaccine. The state is currently trying to procure vaccines for the 18 to 44 age group.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Punjab's Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said that it is critical that a large number of people are vaccinated to prevent the third wave and the state would explore all vaccine options.
"We believe that we should explore all options, all opportunities because we all recognize that vaccination and early vaccination of as many people as can be vaccinated is going to be critical to prevent a third wave. Therefore, we intend to explore all possible options for the people of our state," she said.
Detailing the Punjab government's Covax proposal, Mahajan added, "We have in a preliminary suggestion proposed that we have a requirement for vaccine which is much beyond what we believe will be readily available and we would like to therefore participate in the Covax facility which is intended to provide vaccines at reasonable cost to geographies like ours. We hope that this will be in furtherance of the spirit behind Covax and we have therefore sought to participate on self-financing terms in this facility."Watch the video for more.