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As the number of coronavirus cases declines in India, a warning about the third wave has been issued. In the latest statement, AIIMS chief Dr. Randeep Guleria told that “The third wave of coronavirus is inevitable and it could hit the country in the next six to eight weeks."

The statement comes after several states have begun the unlockdown process and restrictions are being lifted. Currently, India’s main focus is on vaccinating the huge population, a large part of which is vaccine-hesitant.

Preparations for Third wave

To fight the third wave of coronavirus which is expected to be the deadliest, a new frontier will have to be developed to study the virus mutations. Dr. Gulerai stressed the presence of the Delta-Plus variant which has evolved from the Delta variant of Covid19.

“As we have started unlocking process, once again we are witnessing lack of covid-appropriate behavior. It seems like we have learned nothing from what happened between the first and second waves. Again the crowds are building up and people are gathering in markets and public places. It will take just a little time for the number of cases to rise again at the national level. The third wave is inevitable and it could hit India within the next six to eight weeks maybe longer,” said Dr. Guleria.

He further said, “It all depends on how we go ahead in terms of Covid appropriate behavior and preventing crowds.”

Also Read: 'Such breach will only hasten 3rd wave': Delhi HC warns violation of protocols as Delhi unlocks

Vaccination drive in the country

So far, nearly 5 percent of the country’s population is vaccinated with two doses. The government has aimed to vaccinate 108 crore people by the end of this year. The total Indian population stands at over 130 crores.

“Vaccination is the main challenge. Apart from covid appropriate behavior, we need to ensure strict surveillance. Last time, we saw a new variant that came from outside and developed here. The variant led to a huge surge in the number of cases and we all know that virus will continue to mutate. Aggressive surveillance in hotspots is a must,” added Dr. Guleria.

“Testing, Tracking and Treating”

Further, the AIIMS chief stressed the prevention of case surge. “Mini-lockdown in any part of the country, that witnesses a surge and a rise in positivity rate beyond 5 percent, will be required. Unless we're vaccinated, we're vulnerable in the coming months," he said.

The UK is now facing a third wave of coronavirus due to the spread of the delta variant. The variant was first identified in India and now constitutes 90 percent of fresh cases in the UK. “Virus is still mutating and we need to be careful,” he added.

"During the first wave in India, the virus was not spreading that rapidly... but in the second wave, the virus became much more infectious. Faster spread is likely," said Dr. Guleria.

The second wave led to a catastrophe in India as the health system collapsed due to a shortage of beds, oxygen supply, vaccine and other equipment. SOS messages started emerging on social media which attracted the attention of the entire world. Numerous people lost their lives because of a lack of covid treatment.

Also Read: All you should know about India’s preparation to battle against the third wave of Covid-19

Third wave of covid pandemic

The experts have already warned Maharashtra that the peak of third wave can result in 8 lakh active cases in the state which currently has over 1.4 lakh patients.

“When there will be a surge in cases, the number of available hospital beds will decrease. We have to make sure that the fresh cases don’t rise. Any healthcare system globally will tend to collapse with the unprecedented rise in number of cases," stressed Dr. Guleria.

Delta plus variant

To determine the behavior of the new virus variant, the experts need aggressive genome sequencing. So far, no answer is available to the questions like- Does the vaccine efficacy come down, does the monoclonal antibody treatment work?

“To do all of that, we need to have a large or very good network of labs to study the data. I think that's where to move in the next few weeks. And that's the new frontier we need to develop if we want to succeed in our fight against Covid,” said AIIMS chief.

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