New Delhi, Jul 13 (PTI) People are talking about the third wave of coronavirus as casually as a 'weather update', the government said on Tuesday, noting that 'gross violations' of Covid-appropriate behaviour being seen in several parts of the country can nullify the gains made so far in pandemic management.
Addressing a press conference on the pandemic situation in the country NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said globally, the third wave of COVID-19 is being seen and called on people to make efforts to ensure that it does not hit India.
'The world is witnessing the third wave of COVID-19. We have to join hands to ensure that the third wave doesn't hit India,' he said.
'We talk about the 'third wave' as casually as a weather update. This isn't like one plans that we should go somewhere before monsoon, it is virus versus human being and it is a continuous battle.
'More than the environment, it is our behaviour that can cause the third wave. What we fail to understand is that adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour or the lack of it is what will prevent or cause any future waves,' he said.
Referring to scenes in hill stations and markets like Sadar Bazaar and Janpath market in Delhi, Ranganathan street in Chennai, Vilaripatti in Tamil Nadu, Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh and Bhushi Dam in Maharashtra, Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry, said 'gross violations' of Covid-appropriate behaviour are being seen 'which can nullify the gains' made so far in the management of the pandemic.
Earlier, too, the government had warned from the same platform against thronging and crowding hill stations and markets, saying the second wave was not yet over.
Agarwal said even though active cases and daily new cases are declining, recovery rate is increasing and cases are restricted to a limited geography, there is no room for complacency.
'A surge in cases is being reported globally which remains a cause of concern,' he said, citing examples of the UK, Russia, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
He said in India, too, a rise in cases is being seen in states of Manipur, Mizoram Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.
'We have to be vigilant,' Paul stressed.
Agarwal said approximately 73.4 per cent of the new COVID-19 cases reported so far in July are from Kerala (30.3 per cent), Maharashtra (20.8 per cent), Tamil Nadu (8.5 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (7.3 per cent) and Odisha (6.5 per cent).
In the last few days, central teams have been deputed to 11 states to help their governments in COVID-19 management, he said.
Besides seven northeastern states, the teams have been sent to Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Odisha, where a high case growth trajectory was seen or high positivity was noted, he said.
'On a continuous basis, we monitor the evolving situation in states of concern and discussions are held to ascertain how Covid can be tackled,' Agarwal said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi also held a review meeting with the chief ministers of northeastern states and asserted that it is a matter of concern that big crowds are thronging hill stations and market areas without maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.
India's COVID-19 death toll climbed to 4,10,784 on Tuesday with 2,020 new deaths recorded after Madhya Pradesh reconciled its fatality data while 31,443 new coronavirus cases pushed the infection tally to 3,09,05,819, according to Union health ministry data. PTI PLB/UZM DIV DIV