According to the Union Health Ministry, a total of 6,761 cases have been reported from India so far. These include 6,039 active cases, 516 cured/discharged/migrated and 206 deaths.
Globally, the number of confirmed cases has crossed 1.6 million and the death toll is nearing the 98,000 mark, as per the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.
The United States continues to report the largest number of cases, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all COVID-19 positive cases across the globe.
Here are the top developments from today:
# Punjab extended the current lockdown for another 21 days till May 1. It became the second state after Odisha to have done so. The Punjab government also made it mandatory to wear masks in public places.
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.
# The number of cases in Mumbai continued to soar and is close to breaching the 1000-mark. The death toll in the financial capital of India stands at 64.
# Rajasthan banned spitting in public places after chewing pan, tobacco and other products, under Section 2 of Rajasthan Epidemic Diseases Act, 1957. "Penal action will be taken against the violator under Section 188 of IPC," the order said.
# Union Health Ministry said that based on the samples collected and tested, the infection rate is not high, and that community transmission has yet not begun in India. But, it reiterated that all must remain alert and aware.
# Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with chief ministers of all states on via video conference, where a call would be taken on whether the 21-day lockdown, ending next week, should be extended.
# British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reported to be in “very good spirits” after he returned to a hospital ward from intensive care but his recovery is at an early stage, his spokesman said.# New York reported a record death toll at 799.