Third wave inevitable, could hit country in 6-8 weeks, says AIIMS chief

Dr Randeep Guleria suggests mini-lockdowns in cities/towns with above 5% positivity rate

Dr Guleria said that the focus should be on "testing, tracking, and treating" in the hotspot regions.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria said that a third COVID wave is “inevitable” and it could hit the country in the next six to eight weeks.

“Again crowds are building up, people are gathering. It will take some time for the number of cases to start rising at the national level. But it could happen within the next six to eight weeks, maybe a little longer. It all depends on how we go ahead in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour and preventing crowds, Dr Guleria told NDTV.

“During the first wave, the virus was not spreading that rapidly… all that changed during the second wave, and the virus became much more infectious. Now, the Delta variant that’s spreading is much more infectious. Faster spread is likely,” he said.

Dr Guleria said that the focus should be on “testing, tracking, and treating” in hotspot regions. “Mini-lockdown in any part of the country, which witnesses a surge and a rise in positivity rate beyond 5 per cent, will be required. Unless we’re vaccinated, we’re vulnerable in the coming months,” he said.

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The AIIMS chief also addressed the issue of the gap between the two doses of Covishield and said that such decisions should be driven by science and not by shortage of vaccines. “Nothing is written in stone. We will have to look at new strategies. But we need to have strong data to take that decision,” he said.

India records 60,000+ fresh cases

With 60,753 new COVID cases being reported in a day, India’s total case count rises to 2,98,23,546, while the number of active cases stands at 7,60,019, the lowest in 74 days, according to the Union Health Ministry.

The death toll elevated to 3,85,137 with 1,647 fresh fatalities and active cases comprise 2.55 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 96.16 per cent, the data updated on Saturday (June 19) said.

A total of 19,02,009 tests were conducted on Friday, taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 38,92,07,637, the data stated.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.98 per cent. It has been less than five per cent for 12 consecutive days, the ministry said, adding that the weekly positivity rate has declined to 3.58 per cent.

Recoveries continue to outnumber daily new cases for the 37th consecutive day. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease increased to 2,86,78,390, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.29 per cent, the data said.

Cumulatively, 27,23,88,783 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.With 60,753 new COVID cases being reported in a day, India’s total case count rises to 2,98,23,546, while the number of active cases stands at 7,60,019, the lowest in 74 days, according to the Union Health Ministry. 

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