Maharashtra reported 8,807 COVID-19 cases and 80 deaths on Wednesday | Representative Photo: PTI

COVID can be controlled by next year if rules are in place: Govt panel

Seven months since the pandemic lockdown began, experts now suggest that the country has crossed the coronavirus peak and it can be brought under control by early next year if all necessary measures are complied with.

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Seven months after the pandemic-induced lockdown, experts have now suggested that the country has crossed the coronavirus peak and it can be brought under control by early next year if all necessary measures are complied with.

According to a NDTV report, a government-appointed experts’ committee, besides churning out hopes of an exit from the pandemic season, also raised concerns that with the onset of winter and the festive season, any laxity at this point may trigger a spike.

Underlining the need for continuing with the existing COVID-19 measures, the panel said that if the necessary protocols are followed, “the pandemic can be controlled by early next year with minimal active cases by February end.”

By the time the pandemic comes to an end, the infection count could cross the one-crore mark as against the current figure of 75 lakh, the report said. Besides, 1.14 lakh fatalities have also been reported across the country.

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The panel said deaths would have crossed 25 lakh if lockdown was not imposed in March. However, stating that lockdowns should now be only in narrow geographical locations, the committee said the country should start fully resuming its activities.

Pointing to Kerala, where Onam celebrations had triggered a sudden spike in cases and dampened effectiveness of medical response, the committee said there is some evidence that large gatherings cause rapid spread.

Meanwhile, VK Paul, who is heading the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), said the number of new cases and deaths have declined in last three weeks as the spread of the pandemic has stabilised in most of the states.

“However, there are five states (which includes Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal) and 3-4 Union Territories (UTs), where there is still a rising trend,” Paul said in an interview to news agency PTI.

Related news: Despite surge in COVID cases, Kerala manages to keep death rate low

According to him, the country is in a somewhat better position now but the country still has a long way to go because 90 per cent of the people are still susceptible to the coronavirus infections. India could see a second wave of coronavirus infections in the winter, he added.

“We cannot rule out (a second coronavirus wave this winter in India). Things can happen and we are still learning about the virus,” Paul noted. The Niti Aayog member stressed on COVID-19-appropriate behaviour during festival season and winter months.

“Because of the winter season, some increase in pollution in north India as well as festival season, we have to be very careful… coming months are a challenge. One would be worried that we could lose the gains that we have made,” Paul said.

The coronavirus death toll climbed to 1,14,031, official data showed at 8 am on Sunday. The number of active cases remained below eight lakh for the second consecutive day. India is the second worst hit nation in terms of COVID-19 cases after the US.

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