Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a video conference with chief ministers to discuss the situation arising due to the coronavirus pandemic in the country, which has been under a lockdown since March 25 to contain the spread of the virus, amid indications that the interaction would also focus on a graded exit from the ongoing lockdown.
This is Modi's fourth such interaction with state chief ministers since March 22 when he discussed coronavirus situation and steps taken --both by the Centre and the states-- to contain the pandemic.
Two days later on March 24, Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. He extended the lockdown by 19 days on April 14, the last day of the initial three week shutdown, till May 3.
Sources in the government had on Sunday indicated that besides discussing the way forward in dealing with the pandemic, the prime ministers and chief ministers could also focus on a "graded" exit from the lockdown.
In a tweet on Monday, the Prime Minister's Office said Modi and the chief ministers will be discussing aspects relating to the COVID-19 situation.
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.
In his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio address on Sunday, the prime minister said the country is in the middle of a 'yudh' (war) and asserted that people have to continue being careful and take precautions.
His note of caution came amidst gradual exemptions being granted by the Centre and states to revive economic activities.
"I urge you not to get overconfident. You should in your over-enthusiasm not think that if the coronavirus has not yet reached your city, village, street or office, it is not going to reach now. Never make such a mistake. The experience of the world tells us a lot in this regard," Modi said while referring to a popular Hindi idiom 'Sawdhani hati, durghatna ghati' (disaster strikes when you lower your concentration).