Even as major cities across India, including Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, have been reporting a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases on a daily basis, India's Information Technology (IT) hub Bengaluru has managed to contain the spread of infections in the city so far.
According to a report by The Times of India, Bengaluru - which has a population of one crore - has recorded only 452 COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths so far. This, according to the report, is due to the cautious approach taken by the Bengaluru administration right from the beginning of the epidemic.
"When we realised that more people will be flying into Bengaluru from COVID-19 affected countries, we had to act in cohesive manner. We roped in all agencies and made it clear that there should be no chinks in the armor. About 1.4 lakh international travelers were screened and their movements monitored. Their primary and secondary contacts were kept under observation," Karnataka's Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan told the newspaper.
He added that, due to the coordination between state and civic authorities, the spread of infections from the travelers was minimal.
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.
Proactive monitoring and contact tracing by civic authorities, too, were instrumental. According to the report, with every new case, the patient's locality was sealed and the movement of residents monitored.
"We didn't wait for orders, we took prompt action," Dr Ravikumar Surpur, special commissioner - health, said.
Moreover, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) also carried out extensive contact tracing. As of June 6, according to the newspaper, over 1,840 primary contacts and 5,759 secondary contacts have been put in quarantine. The city's policing efforts, with Bengaluru police implementing the lockdown strictly, have also played a major role.
"In Bengaluru, people are responsible; distancing is being practised and almost everyone wears a mask," state health commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.