Third Covid-19 wave inevitable and we must be prepared, says govt

K Vijayraghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to Centre (Photo: ANI)
The third phase of the pandemic is inevitable given the high level of circulating virus, principal scientific advisor K Vijayaraghavan said on Wednesday, without giving a timeframe. While the country is still battling the devastating second wave, he said, ‘’we should prepare for the new waves.’’ 

“Previous infections and vaccines will cause adaptive pressure on the virus for new changes and we should be prepared scientifically,” Vijayraghavan said. He said it was gut wrenching to see what was happening. 

He said the variants were just one of the factors that contributed to the second wave. “Immunity could have kept new infections low in the first wave but those uninfected may have been large in number. As cautionary steps decreased, new opportunities for the spread increased.” 

According to the findings of India’s Sars-Cov-2 genomic consortium, the B1.1.7 lineage of SARS CoV-2 or the UK variant is declining in proportion across the country in the last one and a half months. 

The double variant classified as the B.1.617 variant has been found in Maharashtra and is also connected to the surge in some states in the last one and a half months. 

The principal scientific advisor said the variants which increase transmission are likely to plateau but those which show immune evasive variants will affect disease severity. “Our scientists are prepared to deal with that. We have to anticipate these changes from a scientific perspective...Variants do not alter the message,” he said. 

On whether India needs to go into a national lockdown, the government said detailed guidelines had been given to the states to implement night curfews and depending upon the positivity rate impose restrictions on movement and close public spaces. V K Paul, member-health, Niti Aayog, however, said, “The states should make a careful analysis. We have given very balanced advisories. If anything more is required, those options are always being discussed...those decisions if required will be taken.”  
India on Wednesday reported 3,780 Covid deaths, the highest single-day toll so far. Health ministry data showed that 12 states were showing early signs of decline in the daily number of cases, including Maharashtra and Delhi. The ministry did not give any comparison with the total number of tests being conducted in these states. Cases, however, are increasing north-eastern states.   

So far more than 671,000 in the age group of 18-44 years have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine.  A total of 160 million doses have so far been administered.

Apex court stays HC’s contempt proceedings against Centre

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed contempt procee­dings initiated by the Delhi High Court against Central government officials for non-compliance of direction to supply 700 MT of oxygen for Covid patients in the national capital. Terming the ongoing second wave as an “all-India” phenomenon, the Bench said, “Putting officers in jail is not going to bring oxygen. Let us ensure lives are saved. During the over two-hour-long hearing via video confe­re­ncing, the top court also asked the Centre to place before it a plan indica­ting how it would comply with the order asking it to supply 700 MT liquid medical oxygen (LMO) to Delhi.

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