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Coronavirus cases: Laxity shown by people behind recent surge in COVID-19 case, says Harsh Vardhan

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Chandigarh, Mar 20: Holding the laxity shown by people as the reason behind the recent surge in coronavirus cases, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday urged them not to let their guard down against the infection unless the situation may turn "dangerous".

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"With vaccines available now, people feel they should not wear masks. Maximum people hang their masks around their neck, some keep it in their pocket and some do not use it at all," the minister said on Saturday evening.

COVID-19 cases have again started rising at some places in the country for the past some time and the laxity shown by people towards the infection is the basic reason behind it, Vardhan said, adding that the situation may turn "dangerous".

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"If we do not follow COVID appropriate behavior, then coronavirus will go away slowly from the country and the world," he said. "I want to appeal to people of the country that they should not let the COVID appropriate behavior get weakened at any cost. Maintaining social distancing, wearing masks properly and washing hands with soap probably are the biggest tools to win the fight against COVID-19," said Vardhan.

Vardhan also said there was no need for vaccination for all while asserting that the two vaccines developed in the country are completely safe and effective. The vaccination drive should also be turned into a mass movement, he said, adding that the vaccines are available at 50,000 government and private health facilities in the country.

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He said the priority groups have been set after keeping in the mind the scientific criteria and studying the behavior of COVID-19. "You know that the behavior of COVID virus is dynamic and the vaccination process is also dynamic. Under this dynamic process, the criteria will be expanded as and when time requires," he said.

Asserting that saving lives is a priority for the government, the minister said Rs 35,000 crores had been earmarked in the Union Budget for the COVID-19 vaccination. He expressed concern over the rise in cases in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

Vardhan also inaugurated a national resource centre for oral health care of children and elderly, an advanced PET-CT facility, 384 slice dual source CT scan and a refractive surgery suite at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research.

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