Amid a sudden surge in COVID-19 caseload in a number of major cities, the Centre on December 30 warned eight states, asking them to take proactive measures to avert an increase in the deaths caused by the contagious disease, reports said.
"Take steps now to avoid increased mortality," the Centre said in its letter to the eight state governments, according to NDTV. The details of the letter were yet to be made public at the time of writing this report.
The letter has been sent to the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Jharkhand, a Hindustan Times report said.
The Centre has asked them to increase vaccination coverage and ramp up hospital preparedness, the newspaper said.
The reports come a day after Delhi recorded an 86 percent spike in daily COVID-19 case count, as it reported 923 new cases on December 29. The positivity rate in the national capital climbed to 1.29 percent, whereas, the active caseload surged to 2,191.
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 Mumbai, the daily infection count almost doubled on December 29, as the city recorded 2,510 new cases at a positivity rate of 4.11 percent. Other cities, including Gurgaon, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad have also seen an increase in their caseload over the past week.
Across India, a total of 13,154 new cases were reported on December 30 -- 43 percent higher as compared to the previous day.
The surge in per-day COVID-19 infection count comes amid the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus in 19 states. Delhi has so far reported the highest number of Omicron cases, accounting for 263 out of the 961 cases recorded in the country. Maharashtra has reported 252, Gujarat 97, Rajasthan 69, Kerala 65 and Telangana 62 cases.
In Mumbai, the authorities have imposed Section 144 of CrPC which bars the gathering of more than five persons till January 7.
In Delhi, a 'yellow alert' has been sounded under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). This led to the closure of schools, colleges, cinema halls, gyms and the restriction of timings for non-essential businesses. Shops and malls are allowed to remain open on odd-even basis, restaurants at 50 percent capacity and private offices from 9 am to 5 am at half of their total strength.
Under Delhi's GRAP, there are four levels of alert - Level-1 (Yellow), Level-2 (Amber), Level-3 (Orange) and Level-4 (Red). The yellow alert is imposed when the positivity rate breaches 0.5 percent and stays above that for two consecutive days.
Although the positivity rate has surged past 1 percent, which requires the imposition of 'amber alert', the authorities have decided not to further tighten the curbs.The highest level is a red alert which, as per the plan, will come into play when the positivity rate breaches 5 percent and stays so for two consecutive days.