By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2022-12-21 06:43:30
The shortcomings in the 'zero Covid' policy followed by China for the last few months are coming back to haunt it as the nation reports a huge surge in fresh Covid cases. Leading epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding has said that 60% of China is likely to be infected in the next 90 days and has also warned that there will be many deaths. Apart from China, a surge in new cases has also been reported from Japan, the US, South Korea and Brazil. India, at present, is reporting less than 200 fresh cases every day.
Dr N K Arora, the chief of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization has said, due to the zero Covid policy, China lacks natural infection as it has tried to suppress the virus unnaturally. Hence, there is a surge in cases as the policy has been relaxed. Dr Arora also said that there is no need for panic in India as the nation holds the edge through hybrid immunity, a combination of widespread natural infection and vaccination. He, however, said that there is a need to step up "genomic surveillance to identify newer variants" and take early remedial measures.
Working on the advice of the experts, the Centre has advised all states to step up vigil and increase genome sequencing to identify new variants. It has directed that samples of all Covid positive cases should be sent to Insacog labs to detect newer variants in time and help in taking early public health measures to prevent the outbreak of a possible wave of infections.
Although fresh cases are low at present and as per experts, India has hybrid immunity against the virus, yet there should be no laxity in genome sequencing as experience has shown that newer variants can pierce the vaccine shield and infect people. Early detection of a newer variant will also help in controlling an outbreak with local measures like isolation and barricading. All states must act seriously on this.