Increasing the number of tests has been India's strength, and the country will achieve the milestone of 10 crore tests very shortly, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 20, in his 7th address to the nation since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister said India has been more successful in saving lives than other developed nations, however, it's not the time to be complacent, and we must work towards improving the situation.
He said the COVID-19 infection rate per 10 lakh people is much higher in Brazil and the US.
While the death rate in India is 83 out of every 10 lakh population, it is more than 600 in countries like the US, Brazil, Spain, and Britain, he added.
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.
Sharing details about the COVID-19 treatment facilities, he said the country is equipped with around 12,000 quarantine centres, over 90 lakh beds and 2,000 labs.
Prime Minister Modi's latest address comes ahead of the festive season, when, experts have warned, there could be a sharp rise in the number of positive cases, if people develop a lax attitude.
"Recently, we saw many photos and videos where it is evident that people are not careful anymore. This isn't right. If you step out without a mask, you put your family at risk. We must remember that whether it is America or Europe, cases declined and then there was a sudden rise," he said.
"Festivals are a time for joy and celebration we are coming out of a tough time and carelessness could render our fight useless," he added in a bid to remind the countrymen to follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and norms.
In his past addresses too, the Prime Minister spoke about various measures, including lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic and also announced economic and welfare packages.