Can’t rule out chance of 2nd wave of COVID-19 infections in winters: Professional panel chief


New Delhi, October 18

The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths have declined in the last three weeks as the spread of the pandemic has stabilised in most of the states, Niti Aayog Member VK Paul has said on Sunday but did not rule out the possibility of a second wave of infections in the winter season.

Paul, who is also the chief of an expert coordinating efforts to tackle the pandemic in the country, in an interview to PTI, said once the COVID-19 vaccine was available, there would be enough resources to deliver as well as make it accessible to the citizens.

“In India, the new coronavirus cases and the number of deaths have declined in the last three weeks and the pandemic has stabilised in most of the states. However, there are five states (Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal) and three to four Union Territories (UTs), where there is still a rising trend,” Paul said.

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He is heading the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).

According to him, India is in a somewhat better position now but the country still has a long way to go because 90 per cent of the people are still susceptible to coronavirus infections.

On whether India could see a second wave of coronavirus infections in the winter, Paul said that with the onset of winter, countries across Europe were seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

“We cannot rule out (a second coronavirus wave this winter in India). Things can happen and we are still learning about the virus,” Paul noted.

To a query about the storage and distribution of vaccine once it is available, he said India had enough cold storage facilities to an extent and this could be readily augmented as required.

“Once the vaccine is available, there will be enough resources for delivering vaccines and making vaccines accessible to the citizens, and there will be no concern about resources under those circumstances,” Paul said.

The coronavirus death toll climbed to 1,14,031, the Health Ministry’s data updated at 8 am showed. The number of active cases of coronavirus infection remained below eight lakh for the second consecutive day. PTI



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