The coronavirus cannot be eliminated and "we have to live with it" by taking adequate precautions to prevent the infection, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said in Amravati today.
In a televised address to people of the state, he said a vaccine for the virus might be developed only after a year or so and till then developing "herd immunity" was the only way to check the disease spread.
Mr Reddy said his government has a clear comprehension of the situation and, accordingly, geared up to address it.
"Corona could afflict some Yellaiah or Pullaiah, or even me. Its nothing but fever. It comes and goes. Take medicines when it comes and some care," Mr Reddy said.
"Despite the numerous measures taken, the reality is that we can't really contain the virus. Even if one person is left out somewhere, and if he sneezes or cough...the virus spreads. It is a never-ending process. No way the virus gets fully eliminated," he observed.
The chief minister said that in the coming days, the virus might naturally affect everyone and would be part of life like swine flu.
"Swine flu is also a contagious disease. It just passes on. Or even chickenpox. Corona is also similar. By taking medicines and certain precautions, it gets cured," the chief minister added.
He said the infection rate in Andhra Pradesh was just 1.6 per cent as against the national average of four per cent. 70 per cent of the 74,551 tests in the state were conducted in hotspots only, the chief minister said.
"Eighty per cent (559 mandals) of Andhra Prades is Corona-free. The virus spread is limited to 63 mandals in the red zone and 54 in the orange zone. The rest of the state is in the green zone, he pointed out.
"By God's grace we should feel proud about it," he remarked.
The chief minister asked people to remove the impression from their minds that corona was something dreaded or untouchable.
"Coronavirus need not be seen as untouchable or people need not feel everything is ruined with it. It's just like an ordinary fever. And don't show any discrimination towards the affected persons," he reiterated.
On the ongoing lockdown, the chief minister said it caused some trouble to the common man while the state was left with no income.
"But with Gods blessings, we could mitigate the troubles. Economic activities will return to normal in the green zones (with zero Covid-19 cases) in the coming days while some restrictions in orange and red zones are inevitable," he said.
He also said that public transport might not resume for some more time, but private vehicles would be allowed in the green zones.
"Restrictions will be eased in green zones and industries will run. There will be full focus on agriculture," Mr Reddy added.
Special care should be taken of aged people and those with comorbidities, as the impact of coronavirus could be severe on them.
"Take good care of the elders in your houses. Also, inculcate good eating habits. Take more fruits and vegetables that improve immunity. Follow physical distancing norms as it is the only way to prevent the contagion," the chief minister said.
He complimented and thanked all the health care workers, village volunteers, police, sanitation and revenue staff for their exemplary services in fighting the crisis.