India far from herd immunity against Corona: Vardhan
New Delhi: The ICMR’s second sero-survey shows that Indian population is still far from achieving herd immunity against coronavirus infection, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday while underlining the need for following COVID appropriate behaviour.
He also stressed that masks be worn even in places of worship.
During an interaction with his social media followers, the minister said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is actively researching on reports of COVID-19 reinfection and although the number of such cases is negligible at this moment, the government is fully seized of the importance of the matter, the health ministry said in a statement.
He cautioned that the sero-survey report should not create a sense of complacency among the people.
The first sero-survey of May 2020 had revealed that the nationwide prevalence of novel coronavirus infection was only 0.73 percent.
“Even the soon to be released second sero-survey indications are that we are far from having achieved any kind of herd immunity which necessitates that all of us should continue following COVID appropriate behaviour,” Vardhan said in response to the queries posed by his social media followers on ‘Sunday Samvad’ platform.
The health minister also dispelled fears regarding the phased opening of schools, and advised on proper protocol to be followed while visiting salons and hair spas, the ministry said.
He re-emphasized on the need for wearing masks even in places of worship.
“The pandemic can only be fought when the government and society work in tandem,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
On the wide usage of investigational therapies such as plasma therapy and Remdesivir drug for combating COVID-19, Vardhan said the government has issued regular advisories regarding their rational usage and private hospitals have also been advised against routine use of these therapies.
“ICMR is also actively investigating and researching reports of reinfection and although the number of reinfection cases is negligible at this moment, the government is fully seized of the importance of the matter,” he said.
Vardhan stated that states/UTs have also been advised to lower the prices of COVID-19 tests.
He said his ministry has written to the states and Union territories to engage private laboratories at mutually agreeable lower rates.