India on brink of Covid 2nd wave?

Bengaluru Coronavirus second wave
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Coronavirus second wave imminent, but won’t be as severe as first one: Experts

Highlights

Coronavirus second wave in India: The number of coronavirus cases in India is once again surging. Along with the rise in the cases, there are reports of several new variants of the coronavirus in some States such as Maharashtra believed to be more transmissible than the prevailing variants.

New Delhi: The number of coronavirus cases in India is once again surging. Along with the rise in the cases, there are reports of several new variants of the coronavirus in some States such as Maharashtra believed to be more transmissible than the prevailing variants.

The country reported nearly one lakh cases of the disease during the past 10 days, with the highest addition on Sunday when the country saw 14,264 fresh infections within a span of 24 hours.

The surge in Covid-19 cases comes amid concerns about laxity in the safety protocols enforced by the government to prevent infection spread and it has prompted many States to reinforce stricter rules again.

The country had registered 18,855 infections on January 29, but the tally had dipped after that, showing that India's grip on Covid-19 handling was in control.

However, a look at the reports of cases in three States and a Union Territory shows that there was a rise in cases between 20% and 69% of lows seen after the end of the first wave of the pandemic.

Flagged as areas of concern by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on last Tuesday, Maharashtra and Kerala have contributed the highest number of cases, forcing authorities to be on guard.

The Maharashtra government moved swiftly to enforce a lockdown in some parts of the State after a spike in the number of daily new cases. The State accounts for the highest number of daily new cases in the country. On Saturday, it reported 6,112 daily new cases.

The importance of adherence to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is strongly reiterated for breaking the chain of transmission of the virus and containment of the spread of the disease, the health ministry said on Saturday, signalling citizens to be cautious.

This rise has coincided with the detection of the two mutations of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in India. Scientists fear this can make vaccines less effective and trigger re-infections.

India now has all three coronavirus variants that have caused a massive resurgence of cases globally — B.1.1.7, first discovered in the United Kingdom; B.1.351, dominant in South Africa; and P.1, from Brazil. These have a unique collection of mutations, which make them spread more readily or cheat vaccine-immunity.

Experts have warned against complacency, underlining that a tepid outlook towards disease spread will undo months of progress and sacrifices made in the fight against the disease.

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