Mumbai local train services are likely to start from the first week of January 2021. Maharashtra Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said on December 15 that the state government's correspondence with the Railways ministry in this
regard was in the final stages.
"We have been writing to the Railway ministry to open the suburban network to all commuters and it may be done from early January next year," the Maharashtra Relief and Rehabilitation Minister said.
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While nearly all activities are permitted in Mumbai, the government is yet to resume local trains for the general public. At present, only select categories of people - including staff of essential services and women - are allowed to board suburban trains.
The suburban network, called Mumbai's lifeline, ferried over 70 lakh commuters daily before the coronavirus outbreak. The vast rail network was closed in March-end after the coronavirus-induced lockdown was announced and was gradually opened for railway and essential services staffers.
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.
Notably, Mumbai, which was for long among the worst-affected cities in India, has managed to bring the contagion under control. It is now reporting less than one thousand cases per day. Mumbai reported 521 new cases on December 15, taking its caseload to 2,91,634, while its death toll rose by seven to 10,991.
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