Coronavirus | Possibility of second wave in winter season cannot be ruled out, says V.K. Paul


The head of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 stressed on COVID-19-appropriate behaviour during festival season and winter months.

The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths have declined in the last three weeks as the spread of the pandemic has stabilised in most of the states, Niti Aayog member V.K. Paul said on Sunday but did not rule out the possibility of a second wave of infections in the winter season.

Dr. Paul, who is also the chief of an expert panel coordinating efforts to tackle the pandemic in the country, in an interview to PTI said that once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, there will be enough resources to deliver as well as make it accessible to the citizens.

Also read: Coronavirus | 13 districts account for nearly 9% COVID-19 active cases, 14% deaths: Health Ministry

“In India, the new coronavirus cases and number of deaths have declined in the last three weeks and the pandemic has stabilised in most of the States.

“However, there are five States (Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal) and 3-4 Union Territories (UTs), where there is still a rising trend,” Dr. Paul said.

He is heading the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).

Also read: Coronavirus | Use ‘social vaccine’ of masks, hygiene: Health Minister

According to him, India 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 coronavirus infections.

On whether India could see a second wave of coronavirus infections in the winter, Paul said that with the onset of winter, countries across Europe are seeing resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

Also read: Coronavirus | Vaccine supplies likely from early 2021: Health Secretary

“We cannot rule out (a second coronavirus wave this winter in India). Things can happen and we are still learning about the virus,” Dr. Paul noted.

He 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.

He also cautioned against any complacency about the decline in the number of new cases and called for keeping up the efforts to contain the pandemic.

“If we don’t take precaution, if we are not careful, because we are susceptible there can be escalation. God forbid, but we can avoid it.

“This is in our hand, whether India has another wave or not is very much in our own hand,” the Niti Aayog member said.

To a query about storage and distribution of vaccine once it is available, he said India has enough cold storage facilities to an extent and this can be readily augmented as required.

Also read: Coronavirus | Ensure speedy access to vaccine, says Narendra Modi

“Once the vaccine is available, there will be enough resources for delivering vaccines and making vaccines accessible to the citizens and there will be no concern about resources under those circumstances,” Dr. Paul said.

The coronavirus death toll climbed to 1,14,031, the health ministry’s data updated at 8 am showed. The number of active cases of coronavirus infection remained below eight lakh for the second consecutive day.



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