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Govt not going for lockdowns in big way, says Nirmala Sitharaman amid COVID wave

In a virtual meeting with World Bank Group President David Malpass, Sitharaman appreciated the initiatives of the international financial institution to increase the lending space for India to enhance availability of finance for development.

April 20, 2021 / 11:30 PM IST

Amid surging coronavirus cases in India, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday made it clear that the government would not go for lockdowns in a big way and only resort to local containment.

In a virtual meeting with World Bank Group President David Malpass, Sitharaman appreciated the initiatives of the international financial institution to increase the lending space for India to enhance availability of finance for development.

"Finance Minister Smt. @nsitharaman shared the measures being taken by India to contain the spread of second wave of pandemic including the five pillared strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and #COVID19 appropriate behaviour," the finance ministry said in a tweet.

"Even with the second wave, we are very clear that we are not going in for lockdowns in a big way. We don''t want to totally arrest the economy. The local level isolation of patients, or households which have people in quarantines are the methods through which the crisis will be handled, the second wave will be handled. There shall not be lockdown," Sitharaman said.

According to a World Bank statement, Malpass and the finance minister discussed the importance of the partnership between the Group and India, including recent programs in civil service and financial sector reform, water resource management and health.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

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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.

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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.

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They discussed India''s COVID-19 response as well as the country''s large domestic vaccine production capabilities, the statement said.

Malpass reaffirmed the World Bank Group''s commitment to supporting India''s COVID-19 response and its work toward poverty alleviation and shared prosperity.

He noted the importance of India''s COVID-19 vaccine exports -- both to the region and around the world.

Malpass also highlighted the World Bank Group''s Climate Change Action Plan, including the role of diagnostics in achieving the most benefits from climate finance.

Sitharaman also shared other measures taken by the government, including distribution of LED bulbs, ethanol blending programme under the National Bio Fuel Policy, voluntary vehicle scrapping policy, and incentivisation of electric vehicles to achieve green, resilient and inclusive development.

Daily average COVID-19 cases across the country crossed 1.5 lakh last week. As per the latest health ministry data, 1,61,736 new coronavirus infections have been reported in a day, pushing India''s total caseload to 1,36,89,453, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped further to 89.51 per cent.
PTI
first published: Apr 14, 2021 08:02 am
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