Maharashtra's Health Minister Rajesh Tope has clarified that all the existing COVID-19 restrictions on the state will not be lifted as 21 districts still have a positivity rate greater than 10%. He further said that relaxations could be given to those districts wherein cases are declining. All the final guidelines regarding the same should be out in few days he said.
The Minister's comment comes in as the ongoing lockdown's extension ends on May 31. The state which was worst affected by the pandemic in India, had imposed lockdown-like restrictions in early April to curb the further spread of COVID-19. The imposition of those restrictions was subsequently extended multiple times.
The ‘reopening’ process is likely to happen in four phases. The first phase will see the reopening of shops selling non-essential products and services in a staggered manner.
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions will remain closed for now. Mumbai’s suburban local train services will resume for general public only in the last phase of reopening.
The Health Minister also mentioned that the 21 districts with a high positivity rate, is also seeing an increase in the number of patients, thus increasing the requirement of beds, reported CNBC TV-18.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
Talking about vaccines in the state, Tope informed that Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik and Astra Zeneca have shown interest via their marketing agencies. On the other Pfizer has said that they will not supply vaccines to the state, but directly to the central government.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on May 25 had said that the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has received eight bids so far in response to the global tenders floated for the procurement of one crore COVID-19 vaccine doses.
The BMC Commissioner said: “In response to MCGM’s Global Expression of Interest for procurement of one crore vaccine doses, I wish to inform you that eight bids have been received till date. One bid is for Pfizer/Astra Zeneca and the remaining seven bids are for Sputnik.”