Jaipur: Rajasthan government has decided to vaccinate everyone above 18 years of age, free of cost, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced today. “The Rajasthan government has decided to provide free COVID-19 vaccine to all the people above 18 years of age in the state by spending an amount of about 3000 crore rupees,” Gehlot tweeted. Notably, the central government had said that all those over the age of 18 can get the shot from May 1. Currently, only people over 45 are eligible for vaccination.Also Read - Rajasthan Announces Stricter Guidelines Amid Surging Covid Cases | List of Curbs

“It would have been better that according to the demand of the State Governments, like the Government of India would have been able to afford the vaccination of the youth from the age of 18 to 45 years, like the age of 60 years and more than 45 years, the budget of the states would not have been disturbed,” Gehlot tweeted in Hindi.

The Rajasthan government had on Friday announced stricter guidelines for the lockdown period during which the shops selling essential commodities shall remain open only for four hours from 6 am to 11 am. As per new guidelines, milk shops will be allowed to open in morning from 6 am to 11 am and in the evening from 5 pm to 7 pm. The fortnight-long lockdown shall continue till May 3. (READ FULL STORY HERE)

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Rajasthan surged to 4,98,628 on Saturday as 15,355 more people tested positive for the contagious disease, according to an official report. Seventy-four more fatalities pushed the death toll to 3,527, the report stated. The number of active cases increased to 1,27,616 from 1,17,294 on Friday, it said. So far, 3,67,485 coronavirus patients have recovered from the infection, the report said.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra announced that the state will vaccinate its residents for free. The decision was reportedly taken at a virtual cabinet meeting. Earlier several states like Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, UP, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa had decided to administer Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to all those above 18 years of age from May 1.