Covid resurgence in China: No need for panic in India; vaccination is key - The Tribune India

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Covid resurgence in China

No need for panic in India; vaccination is key

Covid resurgence in China

THREE years after the first outbreak of Covid-19, China is struggling to contain a coronavirus resurgence. - File photo



THREE years after the first outbreak of Covid-19, China is struggling to contain a coronavirus resurgence. The partial unlocking that began recently following widespread protests against Beijing’s draconian zero-Covid policy has overwhelmed the healthcare system, with hospitals running short of beds and medicines. Experts fear that the situation may worsen in the coming weeks, even as the authorities are being accused of undercounting the fatalities. The official Chinese death toll ever since the pandemic began is an improbable 5,200-plus, which is minuscule compared to the corresponding figures of India (over 5.3 lakh) and the US (more than 11 lakh). China has to choose between continuing with the easing of restrictions or reimposing long lockdowns that have battered its economy. Worldwide experience shows that lockdowns merely delay the inevitable — the focus should be on living with the virus rather than trying desperately to shut it out.

Countries such as Japan, South Korea and Brazil are also recording a spurt in Covid cases. India, which was ravaged by the second wave in April-May 2021, has asked states and UTs to send samples of all Covid-positive cases to designated genome sequencing labs to track new variants, if any. Though the number of daily cases in India has dropped to just 100-odd, the pandemic is not yet over. Covishield vaccine maker Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla has rightly asked the people not to panic because of the nation’s ‘excellent vaccination coverage’. In the absence of a crisis, the country’s current daily average of booster doses (about 30,000) and Covid tests (around 1.1 lakh) may not be inadequate.

The efficacy of Indian vaccines has helped in reducing the load of serious cases. Accordingly, the fatality rate has also remained low. However, the reluctance of people to come forward for the booster dose only reflects a sense of relative reassurance. Reports about a few cases of Omicron subvariant BF.7, the strain apparently fuelling China’s case surge, being detected in India leave no room for laxity. The Central and state governments need to work in close coordination to plug the gaps and ensure that India is well prepared and well equipped to handle any fresh outbreak. 


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