PM to visit Pune’s Serum Institute of India today, assess vaccine progress

PM to visit Pune’s Serum Institute of India today, assess vaccine progress

By: Express News Service | Pune |

November 28, 2020 6:08:50 am

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to visit Serum Institute of India (SII), world’s largest vaccine manufacturer (by doses), in Pune on Saturday.However, there has been a revision in the timing of the PM’s visit. Initially he was expected to come to Pune after visiting Ahmedabad and then flying to Hyderabad. Now, the PM will visit Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and at last arrive in Pune at 3.50 pm.

Meanwhile, the familiarisation visit of foreign ambassadors and high commissioners of about 100 countries to Pune has been cancelled. The visit was scheduled for December 4 and the dignitaries had planned to visit the Serum Institute of India and Genova Biopharmaceuticals, where the production of Covid-19 vaccine is underway. However, this visit has been cancelled due to unspecified reasons.

The PMO has tweeted that PM Modi will embark on a three-city visit to personally view the vaccine development and manufacturing process. He will visit Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune. The PMO further tweeted that as India enters a decisive phase of the fight against Covid-19, PM Modi’s visit to these facilities and discussions with scientists will help him get a first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and roadmap in India’s endeavour to vaccinate its citizens.

In Pune, Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao, Maharashtra Director General of Police Subodh Kumar Jaiswal and Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta will welcome the prime minister at the Pune airport.

The PM will then take an MI-17 helicopter to the Manjari helipad and arrive at Serum Institute, where he will be welcomed by the Chairman of Poonawalla group Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute Adar Poonawalla and his wife Natasha, who is the executive director of Poonawalla group. Serum Institute of India has partnered with AstraZeneca and University of Oxford to manufacture the Covishield vaccine.

The PM will walkthrough and have a briefing at the Manjari site, according to the minute-by-minute programme released here. The PM will also be taken for a walkthrough of the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing line before he departs at 5.25 pm for the Pune airport.

Confirming the cancellation, Pune District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh said that his office has received a communication from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informing it of the cancellation of the high-profile visit.“We have not been given any reason for cancellation. I won’t be able to speculate. Only MEA will be able to tell,” said Deshmukh.

Earlier, Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao, officials with the Ministry of External Affairs, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta and Pimpri-Chinchwad Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash had prepared a detailed plan of the visit.As per officials, ambassadors from 98 countries were to arrive at Pune airport’s technical area from New Delhi while the ambassadors of Russia and Saudi Arabia were planned to arrive at Pune from Mumbai.

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