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New Delhi: Corona warriors and the vulnerable—rather than VIPs—should be the first to get the vaccine against the virus, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday as he urged the central government to keep politics out of vaccine distribution.

Addressing the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Friday, Kejriwal said that there are indications the third wave of the pandemic is slowing in Delhi. But he rejected calls for another lockdown in the national capital, saying it is crucial to support the economy and jobs.

“The whole world is waiting for a vaccine. The distribution plan will be done by the central government. If they ask for our suggestion, then I think there should be no categories based on VIPs. Our corona warriors should be the first to get it. Then those with co-morbidities and vulnerable should get it. It should be based on technical understanding and not politics," he said.

Drawing a link between covid-19 and the air pollution that has plagued Delhi, Kejriwal said with a solution being made available for stubble burning, 2020 should be the last year for high pollution levels in Delhi and that there should be no excuse next year for not handling the crisis. He said pollution has been a major contributor in driving the third wave of covid-19 in Delhi.

This year, Delhi’s Pusa research institute has developed a bio-decomposer which melts down the stubble from the fields and converts in into manure. The Aam Aadmi Party government, on a trial basis, has provided this for free to all farmers in Delhi.

According to the government, the initial reports for the use of this are positive.

To be sure, the main source of stubble burning lies outside Delhi—in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Delhi is seeing a third wave in cases of covid with over half a million cases. In the last few days, there has been a spike in cases and deaths from the disease. Experts have warned of an increase in cases due to pollution and the festive season.

“(On) 15 November, our positivity rate was 15% and today, it is 10.5%. The positivity rate has fallen by 5 (percentage points), which is big. If this trend continues, we along with the central government and other agencies can fight this third wave as well," he said.

“We need to face the challenge of cases and also help the economy to save people’s jobs. I don’t think there is a need for a lockdown now," he said.

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