Using Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fifth meeting with the chief ministers as a platform to vent her grievances, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Centre on May 11.
Alleging that the Centre is “playing politics” over COVID-19 at a time the entire world is grappling with the outbreak of the deadly pandemic, she said the Centre’s actions are scripted. She further said: “This is not the time to play politics. Nobody ever asks our opinion… Do not bulldoze the federal structure.”
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At the meeting to discuss the next step that can be taken in the phased exit plan from the nationwide lockdown, Mamata Banerjee also claimed that Bengal is doing its best to combat the virus and also cooperating with the Centre. Yet, she alleged, that the Government of India always picks on Bengal and only criticizes and “attacks” the state administration, reported NDTV.
The Trinamool Congress supremo further said all states should be given equal importance, while all states should also cooperate and join hands to fight the coronavirus crisis as “Team India”.
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.
Notably, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre has locked horns with the Bengal CM in the recent past over misreporting of cases and doubts over data discrepancy vis-à-vis the population density and mortality rate. Mamata Banerjee’s administration has been accused of trying to play down the severity of the COVID-19 situation in the state as well.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recently developed a mobile application that would help the Centre directly track the number of coronavirus positive cases being recorded in Bengal, reported India Today. The RT-PCR app enters data on both COVID-19 negative and positive cases in real-time with the Centre and the respective state governments simultaneously.
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