Even as India continues to battle a deadly second wave of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, the Centre warned on Wednesday that a "third phase is inevitable."
"A phase three is inevitable, given the higher levels of circulating virus but it is not clear on what time scale this phase three will occur. We should prepare for new waves," principal advisor to the government K Vijay Raghavan said at a press briefing hosted by the Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW), according to news agency ANI.
India is currently in the grip of a second Covid-19 wave which is so intense that the country is seeing more daily infections than it did during the first wave that struck the country last year. The number of deaths per day in the second wave, too, is higher than the corresponding figures during the first wave. Since April 22, India has recorded more than 300,000 cases every day, the highest by any country since the beginning of the pandemic, while the number of daily fatalities has been more than 3,000 for a number of days. India is also the only country to have logged more than 400,000 cases in a single day -- registering 401,993 infections on May 1 -- as per the health ministry's dashboard.
In contrast, India's highest single-day tally in a day in the first wave was 97,894 on September 17 last year.
Speaking on the new variants of Covid-19, Raghavan said these get transmitted exactly the same way as the original strain. He added that the new strain of the virus infects people in a manner which makes them more transmissible. "Vaccines are effective against the current variants. New variants will arise all over the world and in India too but variants that increase transmission will likely plateau," he remarked.
According to the health ministry's dashboard on Wednesday morning, India's infection tally rose by 382,315 new cases, and is currently at 20,665,148. This includes a death toll of 226,188 with the addition of 3,780 fatalities. Thus far, 16,951,731 people have defeated the viral disease while 3,487,229 are still battling it.