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Coronavirus outbreak: The virulent virus continues to trigger panic across countries

Italy has reported more than 400 cases, with the country struggling to contain the spread of the virus in its northern region.

February 27, 2020 / 09:58 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

With the novel coronavirus having spread to almost 50 countries across the globe, the outbreak has claimed nearly 2,800 lives worldwide. Over 80,000 cases have been reported globally, with the death toll in countries like Iran and Italy having gone up to 22 and 12, respectively.

Italy has reported more than 400 cases, with the country struggling to contain the spread of the virus in its northern region.

Meanwhile, Iran has reported only 141 cases but the death toll due to the virus has gone up to 22. It is most likely the worst-hit country outside China. Iranian authorities have also announced that domestic travel curbs will be placed on people suspected to have contracted the virus, AlJazeera reported.

Iraq reported its sixth case on February 27 while confirmed cases in Kuwait rose to 43.

China reports 433 new cases, warns of risk of rebound in infection

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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Around 433 new cases of coronavirus infections were reported by China on February 26, the National Health Commission said on February 27. This was up from the 406 cases reported a day earlier, with a cluster of new cases in Beijing raising concerns about the management of employees returning to work. The commission also said in a statement that the risk of a rebound in infection in other regions "should not be overlooked".

India evacuates 112 people from China, 124 from Japan

A special Air India flight, on February 27, brought back 119 Indians, including 113 crew members and six passengers, who were onboard the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship docked off Yokohama, Japan.

Read More | Air India flight brings back 119 Indians, 5 foreigners from coronavirus-hit cruise ship in Japan

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the flight which arrived in New Delhi from Tokyo, also evacuated five foreign nationals — two Sri Lankans and one each from Nepal, South Africa and Peru.

Meanwhile, another 112 people were evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan. Of these, 76 were Indian nationals and the remaining 36 were foreign nationals.

The foreign national evacuated from Wuhan included 23 from Bangladesh, six from China, two each from Myanmar and Maldives and one each from South Africa, USA and Madagascar.

Read More | Special IAF flight with 76 Indians, 36 foreigners arrives in Delhi

Saudi Arabia suspends entry for pilgrims over coronavirus

Over fears of the COVID-19 infection, Saudi Arabia on February 27 suspended visas for visits to Islam's holiest sites for the "umrah" pilgrimage.

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first published: Feb 27, 2020 09:00 pm