Oct 12, 2020, 07:49AM ISTSource: TOI.in
With concerns rising over an accelerated spread of Covid during the festival season, health minister Harsh Vardhan has called for extra vigil and said that no religion or God lays down that religious events must be celebrated in an ostentatious manner. The minister on Sunday urged people to avoid large gatherings and warned that the country may head for “big trouble” if precautionary guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are not followed diligently. “Extraordinary circumstances must draw extraordinary responses. No religion or God says that you have to celebrate in an ostentatious way, that you have to visit pandals and temples and mosques to pray,” Vardhan said during an interaction with social media followers. On emergency use authorisation of Covid vaccines in India, the minister said this would depend on data produced by ongoing trials. “Adequate safety and efficacy data is required for emergency use authorization vaccine approval for ensuring patient safety. Further course of action will depend on the data generated,” he added. Vardhan also said the Feluda test — named after Satyajit Ray’s famous detective — would soon be rolled out to test Covid-19. The test, priced at Rs 500, can deliver a result in 45 minutes. Though active cases have been on the downslide and are less than 9 lakh for the last three days, government experts are worried about an escalation in cases during the festival season along with the onset of winters. Highlighting the possibility of increased transmission of coronavirus during winters, Vardhan said, “These viruses are known to thrive better in cold weather and low humidity conditions. In view of these, it would not be wrong to assume that the winter season may see increased rates of transmission of the novel coronavirus in the Indian context too.” He emphasised on the need to adhere to Covid appropriate behaviour of wearing masks, especially when in public places, regularly washing hands and maintaining respiratory etiquette to contain the spread of the diseases.