The COVID 19 was first reported in November 2019 in Wuhan district in China. Since then, it has spread rapidly globally killing millions within a short period. At present, the global burden is estimated to be about 1,202,320 confirmed cases. Though a respiratory virus, infection with COVID-19 has been established to severe complications of the heart, kidney, brain, blood vessels, etc leading to high risk of death and disability especially in the elderly population and those with underlying issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc. Most of the countries imposed a complete lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
India is a country of 135.26 crores and with low hygiene practice, poverty, low access to healthcare facilities, low testing and limited healthcare resources has made the fight against the virus a tremendous task. One of the major challenges of curbing the virus is the lack of established treatment protocols and an effective vaccine till now. However, India has been able to contain the spread of the virus so far comparatively better as compared to many Western countries such as the UK and the USA. Moreover, there are currently about 50 COVID-19 vaccines being developed worldwide. India’s vaccine is expected to roll out early next year.
After a year of fighting with the pandemic, and amidst the good news of the arrival of COVID-19 vaccine, we are now facing a new threat from a new strain of COVID-19 discovered recently in the UK. The UK government has declared a complete lockdown in parts of the UK ahead of Christmas and the New Year’s Eve. It is said that the new variant is highly contagious as compared to the original strain and could rapidly spread by 70% faster. This has led to a panic worldwide and many countries have suspended flights from the UK to their countries including India, France, Germany, etc. At present, the Indian Government is tracing and testing all the passengers for the new COVID-19 strain who had recently travelled to the UK. So far, 25 confirmed cases of the new strain have been reported in India. The new covid strain is found in 11 people in Bangalore till date.
No such research is done till date which can tell whether the new strain causes worse symptoms than its predecessor.
At the moment the evidence is that the symptoms caused by this virus are indistinguishable from the previous COVID-19 symptoms.
Apart from being extremely virulent and capacity to infect many more, little is known about the severity of the disease caused by the new strain as compared to older strain. The efficacy of the newly developed vaccine is also uncertain at this point.
Thus, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus strain during the New Year celebrations, India has imposed a night curfew from11 PM to 6 AM. This comes after many cases of the new strain virus are being reported in many parts of India including Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, etc. According to the restrictions, a ban on celebrations and public gatherings are banned from December 31 till January 2, 2021.
Our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over.
Although the restriction might have dampened the festive spirit of the new year for many, we must understand that it is important to keep ourselves safe and healthy, so that we do not go into another lockdown in the coming year. Let us all pledge and do our part to curb the spread of the virus and win this war against the pandemic.
Make sure to wash your hands frequently
Avoid touching objects and sanitize your hands frequently with alcohol-based hand rub
Change and wash all clothes after going out
Maintain social distancing, especially when somebody is coughing or sneezing
Avoid touching your face
Stay at home and refrain from going outside unnecessarily
Avoid crowd and dining out
Wear a mask when interacting with people
Report any symptoms to the nearest hospital
This new year stays back at home, relax, rewind, spend time with family and enjoy the food at home.
Yes, the new strain of coronavirus is a modified version of the SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus (the novel coronavirus)
According to the chief medical officer of England, currently, there is no enough evidence suggesting that this new strain variant is more deadly, or severe compared to COVID-19.
According to our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s COVID-19 adviser V.K. Paul, the new virus strain may not have any impact on the efficacy of the vaccines developed in India. The vaccine for novel coronavirus is thought to be effective against this new variant also.
Countries that have confirmed cases of the new strain of the virus include India, Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Italy, and Iceland.
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