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Govt to monitor COVID-19 data for 6 weeks to decide on economic intervention: Sanjeev Sanyal

On the possible interventions in wake of the third wave's threat to the economy, Principal Economic Advisor to the Finance Ministry, Sanjeev Sanyal said, “Our response is partly contingent on how exactly things span out.”

June 24, 2021 / 10:42 PM IST
Representational image

Representational image

The Centre will closely monitor COVID-19 infection data for six weeks to chart the path it needs to walk for economic intervention, rather than making announcements based on projections of the third wave of the pandemic, Principal Economic Advisor to the Finance Ministry, Sanjeev Sanyal said on June 24.

Sanyal made the statement amid criticism of the government for its alleged poor planning which led to hardship to people and the economy.

“We are dealing with uncertainty. The third wave may happen, but we do not know how it will unfold. We need to take some steps against the third wave as a policymaker, and we will carry monetary and fiscal interventions if required.”

“But we need to watch carefully the high-frequency data for six weeks and monitor the testing rather than prejudge how it will behave,” he said at an interactive session with the MCCI.

On the possible interventions in wake of the third wave's threat to the economy, the economist said, “Our response is partly contingent on how exactly things span out.”

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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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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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Sanyal said that fresh interventions could be targeted at sectors based on actual situations rather than generalised ones.

“With the steps already taken on the demand side, some sectors are already red hot, but some sectors like tourism and hospitality are not. If generalised interventions are done, the demand and the growth will spurt but will have the problem of inflation,” he said.

Sanyal said that the government would like to respond quickly based on actual data instead of assumptions.

He said that planning and forecasting will work in case of vaccination, which is the only solution to get out of the “switch on and switch off (lockdowns)” mode and the nation does not want to go back to a “blunt” nationwide lockdown.
PTI
first published: Jun 24, 2021 10:42 pm

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