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Third wave of COVID-19 inevitable in India, says principal scientific advisor

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-05-06 07:50
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People cry for losing their relative, who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside a hospital in Patna, India, May 5, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

NEW DELHI -- A third wave of COVID-19 outbreak is inevitable in India given the higher levels of the circulating virus, said Principal Scientific Advisor to India's Federal Government K. Vijay Raghavan on Wednesday.

"But it is not clear on what time scale this phase three will occur. We should prepare for new waves. New variants will arise all over the world and in India too but variants that increase transmission will likely plateau," he told media persons.

India is already reeling under a deadly second wave of COVID-19 outbreak. The country on Wednesday reported a record high of 3,780 deaths in 24 hours, taking the death toll to 226,188, while 382,315 new cases took the total tally to 20,665,148.

According to Raghavan, the coronavirus' variants are transmitted as the original strain.

"It doesn't have properties of new kinds of transmission. It infects humans in a manner that makes it more transmissible as it gains entry, makes more copies and goes on, same as original," said the scientific adviser.

A patient with a breathing problem wears an oxygen mask as she lies inside an ambulance waiting in a queue to enter a COVID-19 hospital, amidst the coronavirus disease pandemic in Ahmedabad, India on April 14, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

According to him, vaccines are effective against the current virus variants. Immune evasive variants and those which lower or increase disease severity will arise going ahead.

Scientists of India and all over the world are working against these kinds of variants and act against them rapidly by early warning and developing modified tools. "It's an intense research program, happening in India and abroad," said Raghavan.

In a bid to ramp up COVID-19 related healthcare infrastructure and services in the country, the central bank - the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday announced a fresh liquidity of 50,000 crore Indian Rupees (around $6.7 billion).

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das announced that under the scheme, banks can provide fresh lending support to a wide range of entities, including vaccine manufacturers, importers and suppliers of vaccines and priority medical devices, hospitals and dispensaries, pathology labs, manufactures and suppliers of oxygen and ventilators, importers of vaccines and COVID-related drugs, logistics firms and also patients for treatment.

He said banks are being incentivized for quick delivery of credit under the scheme through extension of priority sector classification to such lending up to March 31, 2022.

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