Risk of Covid-19 spread during ongoing wedding season, say experts
The ongoing wedding season is an “area of concern” and people must take all necessary precautions to “ensure gains made in preventing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) from going out of hand must not be wasted”, said government experts during Tuesday’s media briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country.
“…this is a period for marriages, particularly in north India, so we have to be careful by maintaining social distancing, and maintaining our other precautions in this particular phase with equal and continuing rigour. We must continue embrace these good practices, which have saved us… The vigil to contain this disease must continue,” said Dr VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog.
“I would very much like to convey that things cannot be taken for granted, and we have to be mindful of the fact that ICMR’s [Indian Council of Medical Research] last national sero survey tells us that a majority of Indians, as high as 70% of us, are still vulnerable for sure. And we have to diminish this vulnerability not by waiting for the virus to infect us but by getting immunized against the virus,” he added.
It is all the more important to adhere to Covid-19-appropriate behaviour because of the Sars-CoV-2 virus variants that have been reported in the country during the past couple of months.
India has reported 187 cases of the United Kingdom variant, four south African and one Brazilian variant of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
The South African and Brazil variant is slightly different from the UK variant in that the mutation in the UK variant is in the spike protein, while in the other two variants, the mutation has been seen in the receptor binding domain.
“The mutated virus binds easily with the ACE2 receptor that is there in the lungs. This Brazilian and South African variant virus has the capacity to easily enter the lungs,” said Dr Balram Bhargava, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Last year, the centre had created the Indian Sars-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG) of 10 advanced laboratories based at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Union ministry of health and family welfare, as part of sentinel surveillance measures taken for early detection of variants of concern of Sars-CoV-2 that may have caused clustering, high mortality etc.
“Fortunately, there has been no increase in mortality,” said Dr Bhargava.