The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the top doctors’ body in India on Monday appealed to the Indian government not to allow mass gatherings, saying a third wave of coronavirus is “inevitable and imminent”.
The IMA said it was “painful to note” that both the government and public “are complacent and engaged in mass gatherings without following Covid protocols” in several parts of the country.
“With the global evidence available and the history of any pandemics, the third wave is inevitable and imminent (sic),” the IMA said in a press release.
The appeal from the doctors has come as a tussle takes place between Indian authorities and experts over the annual Kanwar yatra, an annual pilgrimage undertaken by the devotees of Hindu god Shiva across north India.
The devotees travel on foot every year to fetch water from the holy Ganges river and dispense it as an offering in several local shrines dedicated to the god. Experts fear the pilgrimage could attract millions turning into a potential super-spreader event.
The state government of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, initially the green light was given for the pilgrimage that is scheduled to begin from 25 July, but reports claimed on Tuesday that the event would be cancelled.
Health experts earlier issued similar warnings against hosting the Mahakumbh, a religious congregation in Uttarakhand that saw as many as 9.1 million people participating amid the raging second wave. The event was later dubbed a super-spreader event.
On Tuesday, the country recorded 32,906 new cases of coronavirus infection taking the total tally to 30.9 million. It recorded 2,020 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the total death toll to 410,784.