A couple of days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned people against crowding tourist and market places, Niti Aayog (health) member Dr VK Paul said “the world is moving towards a third wave and this is a fact”.
Dr Paul said the coming three months are “very critical” for India in its fight against the pandemic. “We can see new outbreaks of the viral infection but we need to stop it now. This is possible if we follow COVID-appropriate behaviour to stay in the safe zone,” he said during a press briefing on Friday (July 16).
The Niti Ayog member said that Indians are still vulnerable. Dr Paul said, “We have not reached herd immunity — not even through infection; Not that we want to achieve herd immunity through natural infection. We are making continuous progress in vaccination. At least 50 per cent of our vulnerable population is vaccinated. So we are still vulnerable. But the situation as of now is under control and we will have to maintain this situation.”
When a majority of population becomes immune to an infectious disease, this provides indirect protection — or herd immunity — to those who are not immune to the disease.
Situation is worsening in most parts of the world. “Leaving North and South American regions of WHO, all other WHO regions are moving from good to bad and bad to worse. The world is moving towards a third wave and this is a fact. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has asked us to take this as a red flag… the PM has given us the target to stall the third wave and it is possible,” Dr Paul added.
Joint Secretary (health) Lav Agarwal gave an update on COVID situation in the neighbouring countries. “Our neighbours like Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh too are seeing a spurt in cases. The third waves in Malaysia and Bangladesh are higher than the second wave peaks,” he said.
Agarwal said it is not important what number of wave is approaching us, but how strong that wave is. “Waves are a post-facto evaluation of how we are managing the situation. The intensity of the waves is more important than the number of the wave. So it does not matter whether it is the 3rd wave or the 4th wave, as this is the natural interaction between virus and human being,” he said.