Third COVID wave in India ‘inevitable’, warns top gov’t scientist

A top scientific adviser to the Indian government has warned the country would inevitably face further waves of the coronavirus pandemic, as almost 4,000 people die in the space of a day.

India’s principal scientific adviser K Vijay Raghavan on Wednesday warned that even after infection rates subside, the country should be ready for a third wave.

“Phase 3 is inevitable, given the high levels of circulating virus,” he told a news briefing.

“But it is not clear on what timescale this Phase 3 will occur… We should prepare for new waves.”

But medical experts say the actual figures could be five to 10 times the official tallies. The country has added 10 million cases in just over four months, after taking more than 10 months to reach its first 10 million.

The surge in infections has coincided with a dramatic drop in vaccinations because of supply and delivery problems, despite India being a major vaccine producer.

At least three states, including Maharashtra, home to the commercial capital of Mumbai, have reported a scarcity of vaccines, shutting down some inoculation centres.

Lengthy queues formed outside two centres in the western city that still have vaccine supplies, and some of those waiting pleaded for police to open their gates earlier.

The government said production capacity for the antiviral drug Remdesivir, used to treat COVID-19 patients, has trebled to 10.3 million vials per month, up from 3.8 million vials a month ago.

But daily testing has fallen sharply to 1.5 million, state-run Indian Council of Medical Research said, off a peak of 1.95 million on Saturday.

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