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Nokia shuts Tamil Nadu plant after 42 employees test positive for COVID-19

Nokia did not disclose how many workers at the Sriperumbudur plant tested positive, but a source familiar with the matter said they were at least 42.

May 27, 2020 / 08:35 AM IST

Nokia last week suspended operations at a telecom gear manufacturing plant in Sriperumbudur of Tamil Nadu, the company said on Tuesday, after some employees tested positive for Covid-19.

Nokia did not disclose how many workers at the Sriperumbudur plant tested positive, but a source familiar with the matter said they were at least 42.

The Finnish firm said it had already implemented measures such as social distancing and changes to canteen facilities. The factory had begun operations in a restricted manner over the past few weeks, Nokia said in a statement, after India eased the world’s biggest lockdown to kick-start its economy which has been pummelled by the shutdown.

“We hope to resume operations soon at a restricted level with skeleton staff strength,” Nokia added.

Chinese smartphone maker Oppo last week suspended operations at a recently reopened plant on the outskirts of New Delhi after at least nine workers tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The outbreaks at Nokia and Oppo underline the challenges of easing the two-month nationwide lockdown.

India on Tuesday recorded a total of 145,380 coronavirus infections and a death toll of 4,167, comparatively low figures for the world’s second-most populous country.
Reuters
first published: May 27, 2020 08:35 am

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