Four persons who recently came to Delhi from the UK and tested positive for COVID-19, have been found infected with the new strain of coronavirus, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday.
Interacting with reporters, he said, a total of 38 people have been found positive since coming to Delhi from the UK recently, and kept in a separate institutional isolation unit in the LNJP Hospital premises.
"Four such patients have been found infected with the new UK strain of COVID-19. The persons who came in their contact have been also traced and tested, and its not in them. So, only these four cases of new strain in Delhi so far," he said.
"Flights have been stopped and those who came before that are being traced and tested rigorously," he added.
Delhirecorded 677 COVID-19 casesand 21 new fatalities on Wednesday, even as thepositivity rate dropped to 0.8 per cent, authorities said.
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.
"Positivity rate has dropped to 0.8 per cent from 15.26 per cent on November 7. About 85 per cent beds are vacant, so the situation has improved a lot. And, so, it had been decided to make LNJP Hospital and GTB Hospital, partial COVID-19 facilities now. All services, including the OPD will be soon resumed gradually," Jain said.
On the preparedness for the vaccination, he said, work is on to set up 1,000 vaccination centres.
Jain said the night curfew has been imposed as the situation is under control right now, but huge gatherings could spell trouble again.
The Delhi government has imposed night curfew from 11 pm to 6 am on December 31 and January 1 to avoid large gatherings during New Year celebrations due to COVID-19 and its highly transmissible UK strain.
A formal order stated that not more than five people will be allowed to assemble at public places in Delhi during night curfew to avoid large gatherings in view of COVID-19.
On COVID-biowaste generation, he said, it is the responsibility of the civic bodies and they are doing it.Amid mounting concerns over the new variant of the COVID-19,the Delhi government had earlier said that people who had arrived here recently from that country, are being traced and tested, while an institutional quarantine facility has been set up separately for positive cases at the LNJP Hospital.