New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the massive spike in coronavirus cases, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that his government will provide free COVID-19 vaccines to everyone above the age of 18 years in the national capital.

Noting that children below 18 years of age are also getting infected, Kejriwal said that age restriction on the inoculation drive should be completely removed if "vaccines are safe and effective". He, however, said that new vaccines will be developed soon if current one are not safe for children.

"Today we have given the approval for the purchase of 1.34 crore vaccines. We will make an effort to ensure that it is purchased soon and administered at the earliest to people," Kejriwal said at a virtual press conference.

The Delhi Chief Minister also urged the two vaccine manufacturers in India -- Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech -- to reduce the price of their vaccines to Rs 150 per dose. He also urged the Centre to cap the price of the vaccines "if needed".

Noting that the manufacturers have an "entire lifetime to earn profits", Kejriwal said that companies should consider about the poor section of the society at a time when cases are rising at an alarming rate.

"One vaccine producer said that they'll provide vaccines to the state governments at Rs 400 per dose and the second producer said that they'll provide at Rs 600 per dose. Both of them will keep the price at Rs 150 per dose for the central government. I hope that the prices remain the same for all," Kejriwal said.

This comes a day after Kejriwal extended the lockdown in Delhi till May 3, saying the severity of COVID-19 in the national capital is "unabated". The lockdown, which was scheduled to end at 5 am on Monday, was imposed in Delhi on April 19.

Delhi has become the worst-hit city in India, thanks to the continuous spike in cases. The city's positivity rate on Sunday jumped to 30.21 percent after it reported more than 22,900 cases. The Delhi Health Department also said that 350 fatalities were reported on Sunday, taking its death toll to 14,248.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma