According to some data, a travel ban could prevent an infectious disease from spreading to a nation for a few days or perhaps a few weeks. However, there is very little proof that a travel ban will ultimately reduce the likelihood of the disease spreading across borders.
In light of the spike in covid cases in various nations due to the new variant, specialists have suggested that the current Covid situation in India does not necessitate limiting international flights or implementing a lockdown, however, there is a need for increased surveillance and vigilance.
They added that it is unlikely that there will be another outbreak of severe Covid cases and hospitalizations because Indians have the benefit of “hybrid immunity,” or natural immunity brought on by infection and strengthened by vaccination.
Let’s see what experts have said and analyzed about the current situation of Covid 19 new variant BF.7 in the world and what is the status is in India.
What Dr. Randeep Guleria said:
According to Dr. Randeep Guleria, former AIIMS director, India’s current circumstances are comfortable and also no ban on international flights is necessary.
Because of the population’s hybrid immunity, India is protected from a subsequent wave of the Covid pandemic, amid concerns brought on by China’s exceptional spike. Dr. Guleria stated India’s condition is comfortable and there is no need to impose restrictions on international flights, even though India on Saturday, 25th December 2022 made RT-PCR testing mandatory for travellers arriving from China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, & Thailand.
He stated that prior experiences demonstrate that restricting flights will not stop the spread of diseases. The Omicron sub-variant BF.7, which is responsible for the sudden rise in China, has already been discovered in India, as per reports.
On further discussion with him, when asked if a lockdown could be required in the upcoming days or not? Dr. Guleria responded, that a fresh breakout of acute Covid cases or hospitalization is improbable as the Indians already have hybrid immunity because of very excellent vaccine coverage and natural infection.
What Dr. Neeraj Gupta said:
Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care, & Sleep Medicine, India needs to be cautious given the increase in Covid-19 cases in China and other nations, but a lockdown situation is not necessary for the near future given the situation in India right now.
Though he said that due to the extremely low number of Covid positive cases, complacency has set in, therefore Covid-appropriate conduct needs to be reinforced. Given the current state of the world and the fact that the pandemic is still ongoing, we cannot be completely relaxed about this situation.
Dr. Gupta believes that “hybrid immunity” reduces morbidity and death while increasing resistance to subsequent infections and India has the edge because individuals voluntarily engage in behaviors like preventative measures, early diagnosis, and effective vaccination approach.
In addition, he stated that China is currently more vulnerable than other countries due to low natural immunity, a poor vaccination strategy that prioritized young, healthy people over the elderly, vulnerable groups, and inferior vaccine efficacy.
What Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya said:
Doctor Chandrakant Lahariya, a physician & epidemiologist, stated that the last three years of experience have demonstrated that while travel restrictions initially helped to slow the spread of the virus, they are no longer appropriate and With the Omicron variant last year, we had observed this. Clearly, travel restrictions serve no purpose now.
And secondly, there are currently more than 250 sub-variants of the Omicron variant of covid-19 in India. Therefore, the most logical strategy for incoming international travelers is random sampling, which has no such requirements and causes the least amount of trouble to travelers. The goal would be to monitor newly discovered covid sub-variants.
As soon as China’s Covid situation began to deteriorate when it loosened the strict lockdown, the Centre acted immediately. PM Modi also convened a high-level meeting to examine the pandemic situation, while the Union health minister met with state health ministers and asked them to intensify testing and genome sequencing.
Experts have advised against panicking since India’s situation is not similar to that of China because China is only recently opening up and because the population that has received Chinese vaccinations, due to which they don’t have natural immunity.
However, passengers from particular nations are now required to do the RT-PCR test as a precaution. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya stated on Saturday, 25th December 2022, Travellers will undergo thermal screening after landing in India and the order has been for them to be quarantined if confirmed positive or with fever on arrival in India.