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Coronavirus | Third wave inevitable, says Principal Scientific Adviser

A third wave of COVID-19 is inevitable, given the amount of virus circulation, K. VijayRaghavan, principal scientific adviser to the Government of India, has warned.

There was need to update the COVID-19 vaccines to deal with the new strains and mutations. “There is, however, no clear time-line on when this third phase will occur. We should be prepared for new waves and COVID appropriate behaviour and vaccine upgrades is the way forward,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Professor VijayRaghavan pointed out that while the nature of the virus was to mutate, the basic precautions against it to break the transmission did not change. “We have to follow COVID appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated. The scientific community is working at mapping the possible changes that can occur in the virus to ensure that our preparedness and response remains robust,’’ he stated.

The warning comes alongside the Health Ministry indicating that districts Bengaluru (U), Chennai, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram (Kerala) Gurugram, Haryana and Patna are among the areas now registering an increasing trend of the virus for the past two weeks.

Coronavirus updates | May 5, 2021

“States, including Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Bihar, are showing an increasing trend in daily COVID-19 cases and an increase in deaths has been noticed in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, and Haryana,’’ said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Health Ministry.

Transmission

Refuting claims that the virus was spreading from animals into humans, member, NITI Aayog, V.K. Paul, said the virus had so far seen human to human transmission only.

Also read: Coronavirus | Karnataka, Kerala grapple with high case numbers

“What we do know is that mutations will go on but we need to keep a scientific watch on these changes. The response to these changing viruses, however, remains the same and it starts with our personal behaviour,’’ said Dr. Paul. He appealed to physicians to come forward to provide teleconsultation for those at home.

Also read: COVID-19 | A.P. strain at least 15 times more virulent

Speaking at the press conference, Dr. Sujeet Kumar Singh, director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said a close watch was being kept on the virus, its effect, spread and response to vaccines.

“Written communications by the Health Ministry and NCDC stressing the need for more stringent measures have been sent at regular intervals to all the States/UTs. The States have also been advised to keep strict surveillance in the districts reporting new variants of concern and take up stringent public health measures, including contact tracing and genome sequencing of positive samples of persons having history of international travel,’’ he said.

He added that information on genome sequencing was being shared with the States regularly.


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:12:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/covid-19-surge-third-wave-inevitable-principal-scientific-adviser/article34491640.ece

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