West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said Covid-19 related restrictions cannot be imposed everywhere as it may impact the economy as has been the case since the onset of the pandemic.
Speaking to reporters while visiting the Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas district where the annual Ganga Sagar Mela will begin next month, Banerjee said Covid-19 cases in Kolkata were rising as it was a transit point for people travelling on trains and flights.
"Most omicron cases are being detected among people coming on flights from the UK. It's a fact that the omicron carriers are coming via international flights. The Centre must decide on imposing restrictions on flights from countries where omicron cases are high," she said.
Banerjee said that her government was reviewing the emerging pandemic situation "seriously" and hinted that a decision will be taken regarding restriction, taking the economy into account.
"We have to look after the safety and security of the people. We will soon make a decision. We will target places where the cases are going up. We cannot impose restrictions everywhere because that may affect the economy as it has in the last two years," she 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.
West Bengal on Wednesday recorded a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, recording 1,089 infections. Kolkata itself reported 540 new cases."Covid-19 cases in Kolkata are rising because it's the transit point for people travelling on trains and flights. I will request everyone to follow Covid guidelines and wear masks," Banerjee said as she boarded a helicopter for Kolkata, ending her three-day tour of the island after reviewing the preparedness for the religious congregation.