Covid-19 Situation Will Turn to Full-blown Crisis if Appropriate Behaviour Not Followed: AIIMS Chief

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AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said the Covid-19 situation an escalate to a full-blown crisis if safety measures to control the outbreak are not followed. People are not exercising caution by wearing masks or maintaining social distance despite the surge in infections, Guleria who is also a member of the Covid-19 taskforce told the Times of India. “It took several months for the Covid-19 tally in the country to cross the 70,000-mark during the first wave. This time around, we are seeing a very steep curve," he said.

India saw 81,466 new coronavirus infections being reported in a span of 24 hours, the highest single-day rise in six months, taking the Covid-19 tally of cases to 1,23,03,131, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday. The single-day rise in cases is the highest recorded since October 2, 2020, while the death toll increased to 1,63,396 with 469 daily new fatalities, the highest since December 6, the data updated at 8 am showed. Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh reported a steep rise in daily new cases.

Noting the rise in infection cases in Delhi where the positivity rate has mounted from just below one per cent to 3.57 per cent in the last two weeks, Guleria said “fatigue” to the pandemic situation has led to the surge. He reiterated lack of adherence to covid-19 appropriate behaviour such as regular hand washing, mask-wearing and social distancing has led to the worsening of the crisis.

Delhi recorded 3,594 fresh Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest daily count this year, while 14 more people died due to the infection, taking the death toll to 11,050, according to the data by the health department. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a high-level meeting said Delhi is encountering the fourth wave of COVID-19 infection but denied considering the imposition of a lockdown.

“If there is a need for a lockdown in the future, a decision will be taken after consultation,” he said, adding the fourth wave is less serious than the previous ones as there are fewer deaths and hospitalisations this time. The chief minister, however, added, “It’s a matter of concern since the COVID-19 cases are rising exponentially. But there is no need to panic. The government is monitoring the situation and taking all necessary steps.”

Kejriwal suggested that the Centre should lift the age bar of 45 years for vaccination to pave the way for mass-level inoculation. If the Centre allowed vaccination at non-healthcare facilities like schools, immunisation be undertaken on a war footing to check the spread of the virus, he said.

The statement came a week after Health Minister Satyendar Jain dismissed any possibility of imposing another lockdown in Delhi, saying it was not a solution to check the spread of the coronavirus that is again surging rapidly. Health experts and doctors have attributed this “sudden rise” in cases to people turning complacent and not following Covid-appropriate behaviour.

The next two-three months could be challenging, they said, adding the situation can be kept under control if vaccination is opened up for more people and COVID-19 protocols are strictly adhered to.

More than 36.7 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day coverage till now, the Union Health ministry said. Of the 36,71,242 vaccine doses, 33,65,597 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 51,215 sessions for the first dose and 3,05,645 beneficiaries received the second dose of vaccine, the Health ministry said in a statement.

India launched COVID-19 vaccination for all people aged 45 and above from Thursday. Seeking to exponentially expand the countrywide anti-coronavirus inoculation drive, the Centre has decided to keep all public and private sector COVID-19 vaccination centres (CVCs) operational throughout April, including on gazetted holidays.