As Covid cases rise, govt’s Covid task group head shares 3 steps to contain spread

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With the number of daily new Covid-19 infections in the country rising steadily, a top government expert has listed three steps that could help contain the spread of the transmission of the coronavirus.

Chairman of the Covid-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) Dr NK Arora on Tuesday said the three factors of following Covid-appropriate behaviour, enhancing vaccination coverage and imposing curfews could help tackle the rapid spread of the infection.

Further, he said the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has rightly estimated that Covid-19 cases are set to surge in the coming days.

“IIT’s modelling shows Covid cases will increase rapidly in the coming days, which is, in fact, happening. Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination coverage are two important factors to contain its spread. Administrative steps like curfews also help,” news agency ANI quoted Arora as saying.

Also read | At 168,063, India sees fall in fresh Covid cases; Omicron infections at 4461

On January 8, IIT Madras said the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic could peak by the middle of February. “What we expect from the exploratory data analysis is that the peak will happen somewhere between February 1-15 and our analysis also shows that as compared to previous waves, there will be a sharper increase to the peak,” Dr Jayant Jha, assistant professor at the department of mathematics in IIT Madras, told news agency PTI.

The remarks from him came even as the government began administering a precautionary third dose for healthcare and frontline workers, who were the first among India’s priority groups to receive the jab when the country’s immunisation drive started in January 2021.

Citizens above 60 years of age with comorbid conditions are also eligible for the third dose.

Moreover, the vaccination drive has also been recently expanded to include youngsters above 15 years of age, while it was only for those above 18 years previously.

Regarding the Omicron variant, which is largely attributed for driving the third wave of infections in the country, Arora said at least three sub-lineages of the variant have been observed so far but their behaviour has been the same.

“There are three to four sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of coronavirus. These sub-lineages could be different when it comes to diagnosis but their epidemiological behaviour is the same,” he said.

Earlier this month, he said there were “epidemiological similarities” between India and South Africa, where the Omicron variant caused a rapid surge in daily infections. He said the number of cases started falling in two weeks in South Africa and most of them were either asymptomatic or had mild illness.

“We may see a somewhat similar pattern in India as far as the third wave is concerned,” he had said.

(With agency inputs)

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