‘Masks May Never Go Away’: ICMR Chief Says Covid-19 Guidelines Will Stay Even After Vaccine

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The health precautions that have been put in place in view of Covid-19 will remain for a long time and people have to follow Covid-19 guidelines like wearing mask even after the vaccine is available, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief professor Balram Bhargava has said.

ICMR professor was speaking at a webinar titled ‘Changing paradigms in Covid-19 management’ at Lucknow’s King George Medical University on Saturday where he said that India was making a rapid progress in the development of vaccine, a report in the Hindustan Times said.

“We have a target to provide vaccine to 30 crore people by July next year. The future course of action will be decided after that. India will develop a vaccine, not just for itself but for 60 per cent of the developing nations. Twenty four manufacturing units and 19 firms will be engaged in developing a Covid-19 vaccine,” Bhargava reportedly said, according to Hindustan Times.

However, Bhargava added that a mask works like a vaccine and will stay even after the vaccine is developed. He added that masks play an important role in also keeping those people safe who have recovered from Covid-19.

“Mask is like a fabric vaccine. We cannot ignore the contribution made by masks in stopping the spread of Covid-19. We are working on vaccines, five candidates are undergoing trial in India. Out of these, two are being developed by India which three are from abroad. But vaccines won’t be enough to end Covid-19. We will have to keep following health and safety protocols,” Dr Bhargava said.

The ICMR professor went on to suggest that the Covid-19 guidelines will stay and that the mask may never go away even after vaccine is developed.

“They (masks) may even never go away. The vaccine will give some protection but masks or the fabric vaccine will have to continue. I don’t think we can give up these measures including social distancing,” Prof Bhargava reportedly said. He also ruled out the possibility of another lockdown to a query on the issue.

Bhargava’s statement comes on the day when PM Narendra Modi visited Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review the development and manufacturing process of coronavirus vaccines at facilities in these cities. He visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune.

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