Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on January 10 said he has tested positive for COVID-19 with "mild symptoms". The minister will remain under self-isolation.
Singh urged those who recently came in contact with him to get themselves tested for the contagious disease.
"I have tested positive for Corona today with mild symptoms. I am under home quarantine. I request everyone who have recently come in my contact to isolate themselves and get tested (sic)," the senior BJP leader tweeted.
Singh, 70, had addressed a BJP rally in Uttarkashi region of poll-bound Uttarakhand on January 6.
On January 9, Varun Gandhi, the BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh's Pillibhit, tested positive for coronavirus. "After being in Pilibhit for three days, I have tested positive for Covid with fairly strong symptoms," he had tweeted.
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.
"We are now in the middle of a third wave and an election campaign. The Election Commission should extend precautionary doses to candidates and political workers as well," he added.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on January 8 said all polling staff in the poll-bound states would be considered as frontline workers and will be eligible for the third vaccine dose.
Notably, an array of top politicians have been detected with COVID-19 over the past few days.
Former Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav, wife of party president Akhilesh Yadav, tested positive on December 22. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was actively campaigning in the poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab, was found infected on January 4.
Union Minister and BJP leader Rao Saheb Danve tested positive on January 8, and Haryana Deputy Chief Minister and Jannayak Janta Party chief Dushyant Chautala tweeted on January 9 that he has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Union MoS for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar, MoS for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai, Bihar deputy chief ministers Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi, Gujarat state minister Jitubhai Chaudhari, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari and East Delhi Mayor Shyam Sunder Aggarwal are among the politicians who tested positive in the past week.
In most cases, a mild infection has been detected, with the leaders and their close contacts being asked to remain under home quarantine.
Across India, the cumulative positivity rate has surged over 10 percent. The country on January 10 reported 1.79 lakh new infections, the highest since May last year. The fresh pandemic wave is considered to have been triggered by the highly contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus.