Despite the restrictions, nationwide protocols, and rolling out the largest vaccination drive, India is still far away from the good news that it had combatted the COVID-19 pandemic in its territory as the resurgence of the outbreak to form a second wave has pushed the country into a state of complexity with the Central government issuing a fresh warning that the next four weeks would be very, very critical.
The second wave has been leaving the country to witness an unprecedented surge in the fresh COVID-19 cases by reporting the highest spikes than last year. India has reported over 1.15 lakh new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours till Wednesday morning 8 am. The new infections had taken the total tally to 12.80 million, the third-highest in the world after the United States and Brazil.
According to the Union Health Ministry, India has reported 1,15,736 new cases in the last 24 hours and it has become India's highest single-day rise since the outbreak began. In a span of three days, India has recorded over 1 lakh cases for the second time as the country had on Sunday recorded 1,03,558 fresh cases and the count was earlier spelled as the highest single-day rise recorded by the country.
Even as India launched the vaccination drive, the Central government has issued a warning for the country by stating that the next four weeks are 'very very critical'. It also has appealed to the people to participate in containing the second wave of the pandemic. The government has also said that the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading faster in the country than during the last year. The exponential rise in the cases had put the state governments to consider re-inforcing the restrictions in their territories to curb the spread.
According to PTI, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr. VK Paul said, "The pandemic situation in the country has worsened with a sharp rise in cases, and a large part of the population is still susceptible to the virus. People's participation is vital to control the second wave and the next four weeks are very very critical. The entire country has to come together and make efforts to fight the pandemic. The intensity of the pandemic has increased and it is spreading faster than last time."
He highlighted the measures to tackle the spread including containment measures, efficient and aggressive testing, augmenting medical infrastructure, and intensifying the vaccination drive. He also appealed to the people to adhere to the guidelines like wearing masks and observing social distancing at public places. According to reports, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has cited that the apathy among people in following the COVID-19 protocols is one of the major reasons for the sharp increase in fresh cases.
In a statement, Vardhan said, "It seems that people have given 'tilanjali' (abandon) to measures and steps that can protect them from Covid, such as mask-wearing, avoiding gatherings, and maintaining physical distance, which I have called social vaccine and are as important as the vaccines that we now have". While the vaccination drive in the country currently concentrates on vaccinating people over 45 years of age, the biggest surge has warranted the Center to consider vaccinating people above 18 years.
Earlier, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting that vaccination has to be allowed for all people above the age of 18 years. It must be noted that the country has vaccinated 8,31,10,926 people so far. On April 5, it has vaccinated more than 43 lakh vaccine doses, the highest single-day vaccination in the country so far. Though the government considers vaccinating people over 18 years of age, the drive will be executed with the formula of not those who want it but those who need it, to protect those who are most vulnerable.
On the front of fresh restrictions, Delhi becomes the latest state to join the number of states to impose night curfew to curb the virus spread. As the national capital has been witnessing a sharp surge, the government has imposed the night curfew from 10 am to 5 pm. It has come to immediate effect and will play its role till April 30. Earlier, the states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh had also imposed such curfews. On the front of the caseloads, Maharashtra has more number of cases in the country followed by Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
According to the Union Health Ministry, India has recorded over 12.80 million COVID-19 cases so far of which 8,43,473 are active, 1,17,92,135 have been discharged, and 1,66,177 had succumbed to the viral infection. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be virtually meeting the Chief Ministers on April 8 to review the COVID-19 situation, containment measures, and the status of vaccination in the states.