Amid fears of looming third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) remains, rising cases of the Delta variant and the subsequent mutations of the virus have now made the probability look a real risk for India, a foreign brokerage firm has cautioned.
According to a PTI report, Tanvee Gupta-Jain, chief economist of UBS Securities India, said the third wave risks are real even more now as economic activity has improved sequentially for the seventh successive week to July 12, with several states gradually easing curbs on movement. The UBS report further said the pace of vaccination has also slowed down to under 3.4 million doses per day as against four million jabs earlier along with 45 per cent of the daily Covid-19 case count being reported from the rural regions of India.
In a note on Wednesday, Jain said that although the number of daily Covid-19 cases seems to have plateaued, the same still remains much above the 2021 trough and the drop in active caseload has also started to narrow down.
The report added that in more than 20 per cent of the top districts accounting for most of the daily cases and where the second wave of Covid-19 has not yet dialled down, the third wave has already set firmly in. The figure was only 5 per cent even a month before, it said.
Gupta-Jain added that while economic pointers are coming back to normalcy, they are still mixed. They stated that railway and domestic airline passenger traffic has improved further in the country, but toll collections have plateaued for the latest reporting week, as per the UBS-India activity indicator. Additionally, while power demand rose by 11 per cent partly due to summer, railway freight has dropped by 1.9 per cent week-on-week.
The report came at a time when India witnessed a consistent upward swing in the daily Covid-19 cases with the caseload climbing up to 41,806 infections in the last 24 hours as opposed to Wednesday's 38,792. The daily case count on Tuesday was down to 31,443, the Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) data showed.
As far as vaccination is concerned, 39,13,40,491 doses against Covid-19 have so far been administered in the country, with 34,97,058 people receiving the jabs in the previous 24 hours.
Meanwhile, World Health Organization (WHO) director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said the Covid-19 pandemic is now in the "early stages" of the third wave. "The Delta variant is now in more than 111 countries and we expect it to soon be the dominant Covid-19 strain circulating worldwide, if it isn't already," an UN report quoted Ghebreyesus as saying.