COVID-19 wave 2 in India and how it is being tackled

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Unprecedented increase in COVID-19 cases

On 20th April 2021, India recorded more than 2,94,291 fresh COVID-19 cases and 2,021 fatalities. Experts have attributed the surge in cases and fatalities to the growth of new SARS-CoV-2 variants which are significantly more transmissible and deadlier than the original variant.

Healthcare infrastructure overwhelmed by second wave

The record surge in COVID-19 cases has put tremendous pressure on India’s medical and healthcare infrastructure. The crisis has triggered a huge shortage of medical oxygen, treatment drugs, and hospital beds. Many states reportedly have only a few days of life-saving supplies left with them.

Government says lockdown should be “last resort”

On 20th April, the Indian Prime Minister urged the states to focus on micro containment zones and use the lockdown option as the last resort. The request comes at a time when several states have imposed localized lockdowns and night curfews to curb the spread of the virus.

India’s vaccine rollout continues

Recently, India became the fastest country in the world to administer over 10 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses. As of 20th April, the country has administered more than 12.7 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. On the same day, over 32.7 lakh people received their vaccine doses.

Approval of foreign-made COVID-19 vaccines accelerated

The Indian government has decided to fast-track approvals of COVID-19 vaccines that have been developed outside India and have received emergency authorization from the WHO or drug authorities of the US, Europe, UK, and Japan. It has also given emergency approval to the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Vaccines found to be effective against ‘Indian variant’

The ICMR have announced that India's home-grown vaccine Covaxin is effective against the Indian double mutant and other variants. Elsewhere, Israel has said that the Pfizer vaccine is partially effective against the double mutant.

COVID-19 vaccines for children and pregnant women

Several vaccine makers have started applying for approvals to vaccinate children against COVID-19. Vaccine makers such as Pfizer and Moderna have already been testing their vaccines on children. Meanwhile, UK has approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for pregnant women in that country.

All citizens aged 18 and above can now be vaccinated

From May 1, anybody aged 18 and above would be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in India. The Government has also said that priority for vaccination would continue to be accorded to those above 45 years of age, and healthcare workers.

Equitable supply of vaccines for the Centre and States

Under the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination programme, the Indian government has instructed COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released vaccine doses to the central government and the remaining 50% doses to state governments and in the open market.

What can you do to stay safe?

The second COVID-19 wave in India has been triggered to a great extent by the non-adherence of COVID appropriate behavior by the people. Now, it is more important than ever before to conform to the guidelines – i.e. get vaccinated, practice masking, avoid public places and stay indoors as much as possible.

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