- Prelims: Current events of international importance(COVID-19, Zero-COVID strategy, Omicron etc
- Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India or affecting India’s interests etc
- Mainland China is going through a critical phase in the health emergency, more dire than in the early days of 2020, as the country of origin for SARS-CoV2.
INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE
Methods used by countries to tackle Covid-19:
- Promoting herd immunity by allowing the virus to infect everyone: which advocated focused protection of the people at risk.
- Problem with this approach: It resulted in many deaths among the elderly and the others who were vulnerable.
- Zero-COVID strategy: Not allowing a single case of COVID-19 by imposing strict lockdowns, closing borders, and imposing travel bans.
- Vaccination impact: countries that followed the strategy abandoned it mid-course as it was untenable.
Strategy followed by China:
- China followed the unrealistic and prolonged Zero-COVID strategy.
- Zero-COVID strategy: It rendered the Chinese population relatively more vulnerable to the virus without better vaccines and strengthened health systems.
- Missed dose: Nearly 8% of adults have missed the second dose of the vaccine.
- 73% of adults are yet to receive booster doses
- with 60% of the elderly remaining to be covered.
- Data: Absence of reliable data.
How to Tackle the Ongoing wave?
- Expand booster coverage
- Strengthening surveillance
- Reorienting the health systems for cohesive pandemic preparedness.
- Vaccinate 2-3 million young adults each month to the cohort of adults who are vaccinated.
- Second dose: Those who missed the second dose should be prioritized and vaccinated through outreach activities.
- Data made available by China in terms of epidemiological data, clinical features, mortality, and genomic sequencing.
- A booster is a means of strengthening one’s immune system against a particular pathogen.
- It may be exactly the same original vaccine, in which case its goal is to increase the magnitude of protection by producing more antibodies.
- Heterologous booster doses increase the levels of neutralizing antibodies.
- Corbevax and Covishield are the frontrunners for increasing the antibody levels.
- It is time to reflect, review the situation, and respond to the potential waves, which will differ from country to country and regions within.
- It is important to track the genetic variations in China and study the infectiousness and virulence of people in the rest of the world.
- Proactive measures taken by the Government are justified, including a higher level of commitment and review of the programme.
- Continuing enhanced efforts in genomic sequencing can provide timely information on newer variants.
- Instead of limiting assessments and corrections for each wave: strengthen the bottoms-up surveillance systems in an integrated manner to detect thresholds for different pathogens affecting human and animal health.
- Instead of devastations associated with outbreaks: choices for resilient structures and human resources can fortify in offering better outcomes.
- This is the time to build shared databases and surveillance across different sectors and identify new solutions that address the root causes and links between risks and impacts.
- Integrating and unifying the efforts to balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and the environment is called “One-health”.
- This can prevent, predict, detect, and respond to global health threats.
- Government should aim to mobilize by building partnerships with communities to create long-term, sustainable solutions.
- Community engagement is also critical to promote risk-reducing habits and attitudes and supporting the early detection and containment of disease threats.
QUESTION FOR PRACTICE
Q. COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented devastation worldwide. However, technological advancements are being availed readily to win over the crisis. Give an account of how technology was sought to aid management of the pandemic. ( UPSC 2020) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)