As India reopens, top virologist has a word of caution. Here's what he said

According to Dr W Ian Lipkin, India still does not have the ‘safety armour’ needed to safely reopen.
Schools have reopened in most states for senior classes (Image used only for representation)
Schools have reopened in most states for senior classes (Image used only for representation)
Published on Oct 10, 2021 08:09 AM IST
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By, New Delhi

Even as coronavirus-related curbs across the country are being eased due to declining second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, top virologist Dr W Ian Lipkin has cautioned against this, saying that India does not yet have the sort of “safety armour” needed to start reopening. The “safety armour,” according to Lipkin, is that a large percentage of people should be vaccinated against the viral illness, which, he said, is “very small” in India's case.

“Less than 20 per cent of the Indian population is vaccinated. Then, 30 per cent of population under the age of 18 is not yet eligible for vaccination. So, this means that you don't have the sort of armour needed to safely reopen in that way,” Lipkin said on Saturday at a media conclave, according to PTI.

The Chicago-born expert was pointing to the fact that though the Government of India aims to fully vaccinate cent percent adult population of more than 900 million by the end of the year, nearly 950 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered till now, a figure which includes both single and double jabbed (fully vaccinated) beneficiaries. 

Also Read | Union health minister reviews vaccine progress as India nears 1 billion doses

The nationwide vaccination drive against the contagious disease began on January 16 this year. However, as mentioned by Lipkin, only those aged 18 and above are eligible to get inoculated.

He also stressed that scientists should develop vaccines that will not only prevent severe diseases, but also block their transmission. “We need to improve our public health infrastructure. Also, we should be able to track and trace individuals who have been exposed, so that we can adopt a ring vaccination strategy, which successfully eradicated smallpox in India,” Lipkin said.

On Saturday, India recorded 19,740 new Covid-19 cases, down 7 per cent from the day before. 248 more people succumbed due to the infection, the Union health ministry's dashboard showed.

 

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Sunday, January 23, 2022