The Centre Saturday asked all states and union territories to ensure there is no large gathering during the upcoming festival season and, if necessary, impose local restrictions to check the spread of coronavirus.
Extending the ongoing COVID-19 guidelines for one more month till September 30, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the overall pandemic situation now appears to be largely stable at the national level, except for the localised spread observed in a few states.
The total number of active cases and high case positivity in some districts continue to remain a matter of concern, he told the chief secretaries of all states and UTs in his identical letters.
"The state governments and UT administrations concerned, having high positivity in their districts, should take pro-active containment measures so as to effectively arrest the spike in cases and to contain the spread of transmission."
"It is important to identify warning signs of potential surges early on and to take appropriate measures to curb the spread. This would require a localised approach, as has been mentioned in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) advisories dated April 25 and June 28,” he 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 home secretary further advised them to take suitable measures to avoid large gatherings during the coming festive season and, if required, impose local restrictions to prevent such gatherings.
COVID-appropriate behaviour should be strictly enforced at all crowded places, he said.
There is a need to continue focus on the five-fold strategy — test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour — for effective management of COVID-19, the secretary added.