Social gatherings during festivities, deteriorating air quality, increasing incidences of respiratory disorders are among a few reasons attributed to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday.
A review meeting on the status of the infection in Delhi, West Bengal and Kerala was held by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in the presence of V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, and Balram Bhargava, DG, ICMR, according to a statement by the health ministry.
Delhi with 29,378 active cases has recorded nearly 46 per cent increase in the fresh cases over the past four weeks, and the positivity rate over the past four weeks has escalated by nearly 9 per cent, the ministry said.
“The rising cases were attributed by the Delhi team to social gatherings during the festivities, deteriorating air quality, increasing incidences of respiratory disorders and clusters of positive cases at work places. The fatigue among frontline workers was also discussed,” it said.
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.
The union territory was advised to aggressively ramp up testing, increase RT-PCR tests, focus on contact tracing and effectively enforce isolation of the traced contacts within the first 72 hours.
It was advised to focus on containment zones, and strict perimeter control to be implemented as per the home ministry guidelines.
The health authorities were advised to give additional thrust to Information, Education and Communication (IEC) practices and proactively promote wearing of masks and other COVID appropriate behaviours, the ministry said.