The Centre on Tuesday said the predictions about the third wave of COVID-19 should be taken very seriously and not like a weather forecast. "People are taking predictions about the third wave like weather prediction reports, very casually. The third wave predictions have to be taken very seriously," said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry. People must understand its seriousness and the responsibilities associated with it, he added.
The Centre also expressed concern over the "gross violations" of COVID-appropriate behaviour in several parts of the country and said this can nullify the gains made so far.
They even listed three common excuses people make to not wear masks: a. People don’t wear masks using breathing problems as an excuse. b. People don’t wear masks as they find it uncomfortable. c. People don’t wear masks as they believe that they don’t need to wear them as long as they maintain social distancing.
NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul, who was also present at the press conference, said globally, a third wave of COVID-19 is being seen and called on people to make efforts to ensure that it does not happen in India.
"The world is witnessing the third wave of COVID-19. We have to join hands to ensure that the third wave doesn't hit India," he said.
Agarwal said approximately 73.4 per cent of the new COVID-19 cases reported so far in July were from Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
He said 55 districts reported Covid case positivity rate of more than 10 per cent in the week ending July 13.
Central teams have been deputed to Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Meghalaya, Odisha, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura to support them in COVID-19 management, he added.
India's COVID-19 death toll climbed to 4,10,784 on Tuesday with 2,020 new deaths recorded after Madhya Pradesh reconciled its fatality data while 31,443 new coronavirus cases pushed the infection tally to 3,09,05,819, according to Union health ministry data.
(With PTI inputs)