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Explained: As omicron spreads its wings, states impose colour alerts; here's what they mean

Depending upon the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation, the Delhi government divided the curb plan, aiming to bring in a clearer picture of imposition and lifting of restrictions. Here are the details.

December 28, 2021 / 06:44 PM IST
Representational image

Representational image

With cases of Omicron variant surging at a rapid rate and several state governments imposing restrictions, people are curious what the new curbs mean to their daily life.

India's Omicron cases tally is currently at 653 across 21 states and UTs, leading the charts is Maharashtra with 167 omicron cases, followed by Delhi at 165, Kerala 57, Telangana 55, Gujarat 49, and Rajasthan 46.

ALSO READ: Delhi government sounds yellow alert as Covid positivity crosses 0.5%

Citing the recent surge, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sounded a 'yellow alert' -- also known as level one alert -- under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), and said restrictions will be imposed accordingly.

Before looking into the details of which state has imposed what restrictions, let's understand what are these various levels of GRAP.

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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.

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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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Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP): Anticipating the third wave of coronavirus, Delhi Disaster Management Authority in July 2021 approved GRAP. Depending upon the seriousness of the coronavirus situation, the government divided the curb plan, aiming to bring in a clearer picture of imposition and lifting of restrictions.

Yellow Alert/Level-1: This alert is sounded when the COVID-19 positivity rate breaches 0.5 percent and stays above that for two consecutive days. Under this level educational institutions, cinema halls and gyms are closed, while private offices, restaurants, bars, and metros function with 50 percent capacity.

Also, non-essential shops and shopping malls are allowed to open on an odd-even basis (alternative days). However, essential shops and salons can remain open. Meanwhile, a night curfew is imposed between 10 pm to 5 am.

Amber Alert/Level-2: This alert is sounded when the COVID-19 positivity rate breaches 1 percent and stays above that for two consecutive days. Under this, apart from all Level-1 restrictions, salons will also be closed and only takeaways are allowed for restaurants. Also, the seating capacity in the metro is restricted to just 33 percent. Night curfew continues.

Orange Alert/Level-3: When the COVID-19 positivity rate breaches 2 percent and stays above that for two consecutive days, this alert is sounded. Under this, apart from Level-2 curbs, shopping malls and metro services are closed. Also, only non-essential standalone shops can function between 10 am to 6 pm. Night curfew continues.

Red Alert/Level-4: This is the strictest alert among all. Red Alert is sounded when the COVID-19 positivity rate breaches 5 percent and stays above that for two consecutive days. Here all apart from Level-3 restrictions, a complete curfew is also imposed.

States and their curbs:

Maharashtra: Imposed restrictions and Section 144 post 9 pm to 6 am starting midnight of December 24, 2021.

Karnataka: Imposed night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am from 28 December to 7 January 2022.

Haryana: Imposed night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am from December 24 till January 5.

Uttar Pradesh: Night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am beginning December 25.

Assam: Night curfew between 11.30 pm to 6 am.

Madhya Pradesh: Night curfew in the state from 11 pm to 5 am.

Gujarat: Night curfew with effect from December 25 between 11 pm to 5 am.

Prior to this too, during the peak in April 2020, several states took similar steps and imposed curbs on movements of people during night time. Also, restrictions on the opening of education institutions, shopping malls, and local transports were made by the authorities to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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