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Nationwide lockdown again? Centre's COVID-19 Task Force 'pushing hard' for it: Report

Several states have already imposed some form of lockdown that prohibits gatherings in shopping malls, gyms, cinema halls.

May 03, 2021 / 09:44 AM IST
After a national lockdown a year ago led to an economic slump, the Indian government is desperate to avoid a second stoppage. But Delhi joined Mumbai in ordering all but essential services to close. (Image: AFP)

After a national lockdown a year ago led to an economic slump, the Indian government is desperate to avoid a second stoppage. But Delhi joined Mumbai in ordering all but essential services to close. (Image: AFP)


The COVID-19 Task Force set up by the government is "pushing hard" for a nationwide lockdown to break the chain of the virus as the country records an unprecedented caseload of 4.01 lakh COVID-19 cases and 3,523 deaths in the last 24 hours.

According to an exclusive report by the Indian Express, the Centre's task force - which includes experts from AIIMS and ICMR - have met many times during the recent surge in cases. The deliberations of these experts are of significance since the chairperson of the task force, V K Paul, reports to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister in his address on April 20 argued against a lockdown and said that it should only be used as a "last resort."

According to the report, the experts have flagged three key factors: To break the chain of transmission, “growing anger building up” within the medical community as hospitals struggle to treat the increasing number of caseload amid oxygen and other supply shortages and the rapid increase in infections in rural areas that lack critical care infrastructure.

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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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Several states have already imposed some form of lockdown that prohibits gatherings in shopping malls, gyms, cinema halls. Restrictions on the number of people attending marriage and funerals have also been imposed.

In an exclusive conversation with News18, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria said that India’s health infrastructure was “stretched to the limit" and “aggressive lockdowns" - like the one imposed in March 2020 - in areas with positivity rates over 10 percent are needed to contain the second COVID-19 wave.

Guleria added those night curfews and weekend lockdowns were also proving to be ineffectual.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 3, 2021 09:44 am

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