After easing of restrictions across the country, there is a lack of COVID-appropriate behaviour and the “inevitable” third wave of infections could hit India in the next six to eight weeks, All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr Randeep Guleria told NDTV on Saturday.
Guleria said Indians don’t seem to have learnt from what happened in the country during the first and second waves of COVID-19.
“As we have started unlocking, there is again a lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour. We don’t seem to have learnt from what happened between the first and the second wave. 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. Third wave is inevitable and it could hit the country within the next six to eight weeks… may be a little longer,” Dr Guleria was quoted as saying by NDTV.
“It all depends on how we go ahead in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour and preventing crowds,” he told the news channel.
He further said that India is facing the main challenge of vaccinating the huge population against the COVID-19 and increasing the gaps between two doses of Covishield “may not be a bad” approach in order to cover more people.
“That (vaccination) is the main challenge. A new wave can usually take up to three months but it can also take much lesser time, depending on various factors. Apart from Covid-appropriate behaviour, we need to ensure strict surveillance. Last time, we saw a new variant – which came from outside and developed here – led to the huge surge in the number of cases. We know the virus will continue to mutate. Aggressive surveillance in hotspots is required,” the AIIMS chief said.
“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, stressing that “testing, tracking, and treating” should be the focus in hotspots.
“We have to factor in human behaviour while unlocking, which needs to be done in a graded manner,” Dr Guleria said. “Virus is still mutating, we need to be careful”, he said on the spread of the Delta variant in the UK.
“During the first wave (in India), 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,” said the AIIMS chief.