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Covid-19 third wave 'inevitable' but not clear when it will occur: Govt's scientific advisor

Customers purchase food and other essential items from vendors set up outside closed stores in the Daryagunj wholesale market. (Bloomberg)Premium
Customers purchase food and other essential items from vendors set up outside closed stores in the Daryagunj wholesale market. (Bloomberg)

  • Long Covid-19 wave of such ferocity we are seeing was not predicted, a government's official said
  • Daily new Covid-19 cases rose by 3.82 lakh today, the health ministry data showed even as testing has slowed in many places

As India's Covid-19 crisis continues to crush the healthcare system, a top scientific adviser of the government on Wednesday said that the country may see a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic if the virus continues to evolve further.

In a press briefing by the Ministry of Health Affairs, officials said the long Covid wave of such "ferocity" that the country was experiencing currently "was not predicted".

The government official warned that the Covid-19 vaccines will need to be "updated" to deal with the new strains that have sped up the contagion in the country, overwhelming hospitals and killing thousands of people.

"A phase three is inevitable, given the higher levels of circulating virus but it is not clear on what time scale this phase three will occur. We should prepare for new waves," K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Centre, said today.

On variants of the coronavirus, he said, "Variants are transmitted same as original strain. It doesn't have the properties of new kinds of transmission. It infects humans in a manner that makes it more transmissible as it gains entry, makes more copies, and goes on, same as the original."

Around 2.4% day-on-day growth in coronavirus cases has been noticed as the country's caseload hit 2.06 crore with over 3.82 lakh new infections reported in a day.

Few states including Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Bihar, are showing an increasing trend in daily Covid-19 cases, the government said today.

Bengaluru, Chennai areas of concern

There are some areas of concern, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of the Union Health Ministry said. Bengaluru reported around 1.49 lakh cases in the last week. Chennai reported around 38,000 Covid-19 cases. Some districts have recorded further and speedy cases, including Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Gurgram, he added.

An increase in deaths has been noticed too, the health official said, adding Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, and Haryana reported more death cases.

Twelve states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, have over 1 lakh active cases, the government said.

The government also said that 24 states and UTs show more than 15% Covid-19 positivity rate.

Nearly 3,780 people died of Covid in India in the last 24 hours, the highest in a day so far, pushing the total fatalities to 2,26,188.

Meanwhile, in a weekly report, the WHO said India accounted for 46% of global cases and a quarter of global deaths reported in the past week.

Even as many quarters demanded a nationwide lockdown to reign in the Covid-19 pandemic, large parts of the country are under strict curbs for varying periods.

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