Micro-level Behavioral Changes Required to Tackle Covid-19 Pandemic, Says Principal Scientific Adviser

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At a time when Covid-19 cases reaching nearly 1 lakh per day in the country, Principal Scientific Adviser K Vijay Raghavan on Tuesday emphasized on adopting micro-level behavioural changes such as maintaining social distancing, wear masks and avoid crowded places to tackle the crisis.

In a conversation with CNN-News18's Marya Shakil, Raghavan ruled out the need to impose lockdown and said India is in a position to deal with the pandemic as the country is now well equipped with required healthcare equipment and vaccines.

“We must keep in mind that the situation an year ago when we had the first lockdown was different. We didn’t have PPE kits, oxygen tanks, or ventilators on reasonable numbers, our healthcare workers were not vaccinated and we knew nothing about the virus. The situation has changed dramatically now. Healthcare workers are vaccinated, we oxygen cylinders, hospital beds or they can be ramped up very rapidly if needed. Our position to tackle the problem is much better now and therefore appropriate behavior by us can be very valuable and helpful. Micro-level behavioral changes are very very important now,” said Raghavan on being asked about if the government is considering the imposition of a nationwide lockdown.

On being further asked about the new strain and effectiveness of the available vaccines on it, he said, “There are changes in this virus and mutations occur. Some mutations are variants of concern. But these variants can be tackled by the vaccines we have. Remember that all of them including the original strain as well as the variants can be tackled by social distancing and other measures. Therefore, to put the burden on variants would not be correct. It’s the combination of multiple parameters which include the variants.”

Speaking on the reasons behind constant rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, Raghavan said, “There are several reasons. One is decrease in Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. Other is large gatherings, particularly indoors. Outdoor gatherings are also a threat but less so. And now various variants are arising which spread faster and are immune invasive. All these combined are reasons of increase in cases.”

Meanwhile, the daily rise in Covid-19 cases in India remained above 90,000 for the third consecutive day taking the nationwide infection tally of cases to 1,26,86,049, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday morning. A total of 96,982 cases have been reported in a span of 24 hours, while the death toll increased to 1,65,547 with 446 daily new fatalities, the data showed.

India on Monday recorded an all-time high of 1,03,558 single day new coronavirus infections in a span of 24 hours. Registering a steady increase for the 27th day in row, the active cases have increased to7,88,223 comprising 6.21 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 92.48 per cent, the data stated.