Amid massive footfall at popular tourist destinations in states like Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, India’s top medical body, Indian Medical Association warned the government to not let its guard down saying a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is “inevitable” and “imminent”. The medial body raised its apprehension over tourism activities, pilgrimages and other forms of mass congregations which has picked pace after relaxation in covid norms by state governments.
“With the global evidence available and the history of any pandemic, the third wave is inevitable and imminent. However, it is painful to note…in many parts of the country both the government and public are complacent and engaged in mass gatherings without following Covid protocols” the medical association said in a press release.
“Tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour are all needed but can wait for a few more months. Opening up these rituals and enabling people without vaccination to go scot-free in these mass gatherings are potential super spreaders for the Covid third wave,” it said.
IMA also pointed out that the onset of a brutal third wave would annul the minor economic gains that would be made for now by relaxing the COVID-related rules.
“The consequences of treating a patient with COVID in hospital and its impacts on the economy will be much better than the economic loss we suffer from avoiding such mass gathering,” it added.
IMA’s warning comes at a time when violations of safety norms have been reported in a number of tourism-centric states due to the influx of visitors.
The medical body also noted thatthe impact of the third wave can be mitigated by ensuring universal vaccination and following Covid-appropriate behaviour, according to IMA.
Although the country’s per-day COVID-19 count has dipped below 40,000, and the overall infection rates continue to remain under 5 percent, several states are still reporting worrying number of cases. Experts have raised concern over the gradual rise in R-number – reproduction value of the coronavirus.