‘Next 6-8 weeks are important as…’: Guleria on how Covid cases can drop
Three days after the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) issued Covid-19 guidelines for the upcoming festive season, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi director Dr Randeep Guleria on Friday said that people must remain “alert and vigilant” in the next six to eight weeks for the cumulative infection rates to come down.
“During the festive season, we have to remain alert and vigilant. If we remain alert for the next six to eight weeks, then we will be able to see a decline in the overall number of Covid-19 cases,” he told news agency ANI.
India on Friday reported 26,727 fresh Covid-19 cases – a rise of 13.5 per cent from yesterday, thereby taking the cumulative tally to 3,37,66,707, according to data shared by the Union health ministry. As many as 28,246 new recoveries were registered in the last 24 hours, following which the total number of recovered patients climbed up to 3,30,43,144. With 277 new fatalities, the death toll stands at 4,48,339, the ministry data revealed.
The MHA on Tuesday issued a warning to all states and Union territories (UTs) against any reluctance over enforcing strict measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, and also extended the guidelines till the end of October. “Utmost vigil has to be maintained in respect of mass gathering events, so as to avoid any possibility of surge in Covid-19 cases,” Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote in a letter.
India has so far vaccinated more than 89 crore eligible beneficiaries, including achieving the feat of administering Covid-19 vaccine shots to over 1 crore individuals in a single day, five times in a month. According to an earlier report by Hindustan Times, Union health ministry officials stated that the central government is planning to reach the nationwide vaccination coverage of 1 billion people by early October.
Despite such developments, the delay in emergency approval of Covaxin – India’s indigenous coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech, by the World Health Organisation (WHO), has caused concerns. However, Guleria on Friday said that they are “hopeful” the approval should happen soon “rather than…late” because all data have been submitted and studies have also been done.
Emphasising the need for the approval, the AIIMS director told ANI that the move will “make travel easy…encourage people, especially those who have taken both shots of the vaccine to be able to travel abroad.”
He added that the emergency approval of Covaxin is also required when the world has started moving out of the pandemic in order for those jabbed with the doses not needing to “quarantine or isolate at any place.”
Guleria’s statement comes hours after Australia declared Covishield as the “recognised vaccine” for international travellers as part of its move to reopen the world. The announcement was made via a statement issued by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and several of his ministers.