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The second COVID-19 wave can not be ruled out, says VK Paul of NITI Aayog; The center says community broadcasting is limited

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Vardhan added, “In different pockets in different states, including West Bengal, the transmission of COVID-19 by the community is expected to occur, especially in densely populated areas.”

NITI Aayog on Sunday noted a drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths in India over the past three weeks, but the statement could not rule out the possibility of a second wave of infections in the winter.

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said COVID-19 community-based transmission was taking place in districts “in a limited number of countries” and that it is not a nationwide phenomenon.

The COVID-19 case load in India rose to 61,871 new infections on Sunday.

Repairs rose to 65,97,209, bringing the nationwide recovery rate to 88.03 percent. The number of COVID-19s rose to 1,14,031 with 1,033 new deaths reported in 24 hours, the health ministry said.

The number of active coronavirus cases remained below 8 lakh for the second day in a row. The total number of cases (74,94,551) includes 7,83,311 active cases, which account for 10.45 percent of the total case load, ministry data showed.

The fatality rate of COVID-19 cases stands at 1.52 percent.

On Sunday, India ranked at the top of the US in terms of active COVID-19 cases as well as the total case load, according to Botëometër, a website that publishes coronavirus statistics from around the world.

India is number one in terms of the number of cases recovered, while it is in third place in terms of casualties worldwide after the US and Brazil.

The center says community broadcasting does not take place across the country

Addressing the sixth episode of ‘E diela Samvad’,Vardhan said community broadcasting “is not happening across the country”.

He was answering a question from a participant, who quoted West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as remarking that there are cases of community broadcasting in her state. The participant also asked the Union Minister which countries have found the transmission of the disease in the community.

In response, Vardhan said, “In different pockets across different states, including West Bengal, the transmission of COVID-19 by the community is expected to occur, especially in densely populated areas.”

“However, this is not happening across the country. Community broadcasting is limited to certain districts, which occur in a limited number of states,” he added.

He also said that so far, no coronavirus mutation has been discovered in India to be more efficient in transmission or more pathogenic. The center has so far denied transmission from the community of coronavirus infection in the country.

Earlier, health ministry officials had said that the World Health Organization (WHO) had not provided any standard definition of transmission to the community.

It allows its member nations to assess the spread of the disease, based on their analysis of the situation, and to make their own report, which the global body displays on its website.

In general, if it is not possible to trace the transmission chain, it means that there is transmission in the community, officials said. The center has claimed that there are case groups and there are localized transmission pockets.

Vardhan also praised the recent rush in the COVID-19 cases in Kerala. The state of Hesaid was paying the “price for gross negligence” during the Onam holidays, when the unblocking of services along with an increase in travel for trade and tourism led to the spread of COVID-19.

The minister said this should serve as a good lesson to all state governments that were negligent in planning for the festival season.

The Kerala COVID-19 figure has crossed 3.3 lakh while the number of Saturdays rose to 1,139. Prior to Onam (August 22), the state had reported about 54,000 cases, while the death toll was nearly 200.

Answering a question on the Kerala situation, Vardhan said that between January 30 and May 3, the state had reported only 499 cases and two deaths due to illness.

He expressed disappointment that “Kerala was paying the price of gross negligence” during the recent Onam holidays

“Kerala epi curve changed completely due to Onam holidays across the state. New daily cases almost doubled,” Vardhan said.

Speaking about the situation across the country, he asserted that there is no shortage of oxygen cylinders in the country and that the government is ready to increase production capacity to meet any further increase in demand arising due to the pandemic.

Answering a question on the discrepancy in COVID-19 death rates, Vardhan said the Ministry of Health has considered the issue of accurate certification of COVID-19 deaths with all states and UT in many cases.

He has also shared a proper death reporting modality with them to ensure consistency in reporting COVID-19-related deaths across India, the minister said.

‘No evidence of China’s claim at multiple focal points’

Answering questions about the investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 virus, Vardhan said there was no evidence that could substantiate China’s claims to multiple global focal points for the outbreak.

China has claimed that the coronavirus broke out simultaneously in several countries last year.

Vardhan added the reported COVID-19 outbreak from Wuhan in China remains known as the first worldwide report.

Answering a question, he said China has claimed that there was a simultaneous outbreak of the disease in many nations.

“However, to substantiate this claim that there were many focal points around the world requires uniform and timely reporting data of cases confirmed and diagnosed by different countries at the same time. No such evidence is “Therefore, the reported COVID-19 outbreak from Wuhan in China has been recognized as the first worldwide report,” the minister said.

Nearly 100 Delhi Metro pre-arranged with passengers

Delhi Police released 98 homes for subway passengers for violating instructions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police personnel at subway stations conducted a car to check on those found violating COVID-19 guidelines. Travelers who did not wear masks or were keeping social distance were fined,PTI reported.

In the last four days, 1,903 subway trains were searched and 98 challans were issued to passengers for violating instructions to control the pandemic, said Jitendra Mani, Deputy Police Commissioner (Metro).

He urged all subway passengers to wear masks, maintain social distance and use hand sanitizers for their safety.

Delhi Metro was closed on March 22 to contain the spread of the coronavirus and after 169 days it resumed services in early September with strict security measures and social distancing.

NITI Aayog says the COVID-19 wave is likely in the winter

VIT Paul of NITI Aayog, who is also the chief expert coordinating efforts to fight the pandemic in the country, in an interview for PTI, said the COVID-19 situation had stabilized in states in recent weeks.

He also said that once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, there will be sufficient resources to provide as well as make it accessible to citizens.

“In India, new coronavirus cases and deaths have dropped in the last three weeks and the pandemic has stabilized in most states.

“However, there are five states (Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal) and 3-4 Union Territories (UT) where there is still a growing trend,” Paul said.

He is chairing the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).

According to him, India is in a somewhat better position now but the country still has a long way to go because 90 per cent of people are still susceptible to coronavirus infections.

If India could see a second wave of coronavirus infections in the winter, Paul said with the onset of winter, countries across Europe are seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

“We can not rule it out (a second wave of coronavirus this winter in India). Things can happen and we are still learning about the virus,” Paul noted.

‘COVID-19 reached its peak in the country, can be contained until February’

A government-appointed committee said the coronavirus pandemic has reached its peak in India and can be controlled through strict precautions, according to some media reports.

The committee, chaired by Hyderabad IIT professor M Vidyasagar, added that the pandemic is likely to be mitigated by February 2021.

The committee said strict adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures is essential to curb the spread of the infection by next year.

“If all protocols are followed, the pandemic could be controlled by early next year with minimal active cases by the end of February,” the panel wasquoted to have said byNDTV.

Using software to study the pandemic trajectory in the country, the committee found that infections are likely to have peaked in mid-September,Indian Expressreported. The report also quoted the panel as saying the total number of cases “is unlikely to exceed 106 lakh”.

Wise deaths by the state

1,033 new victims include 463 from Maharashtra, 95 from Uttarakhand, 71 from Karnataka, 61 from West Bengal, 57 from Tamil Nadu, 40 from Uttar == Pradesh and 35 from Delhi.

A total of 1,14,031 deaths reported so far in the country include 41,965 from Maharashtra followed by 10,586 from Tamil Nadu, 10,427 from Karnataka, 6,629 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,406 from Andhra Pradesh, 5,992 from West Bengal, 5,981 from Delhi, 3,999 from Punjab and 3,626 from Gujarat.

With data from agencies

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