New Delhi: India has crossed the COVID-19 peak and should be able to contain the spread of virus by the end of February 2021, a government-appointed panel of scientists and doctors said on Sunday. However, the panel warned that laxity in following COVID-19 protocol can lead to a rise in infections. Also Read - Delhi Records Over COVID 5000 Fresh Cases For Second Consecutive Day, Death Toll Mounts to 6423

The committee also underlined that 30 per cent of the population in India has developed immunity against the deadly infection. Also Read - Aarogya Setu App Issue: Centre to Take Action Against Officials Responsible For Info Lapses

It also sounded warning bells that the onset of winters combined with the upcoming festive season can lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country. Also Read - Maharashtra Extends Lockdown Till Nov 30, Shutdown to Continue in Containment Zones

Meanwhile, Niti Aayog Member V K Paul today acknowledged that number of new coronavirus cases and deaths have declined in the last three weeks, but did not rule out the possibility of a second wave of infections in the winter season.

Paul, who is also the chief of an expert coordinating efforts to tackle the pandemic in the country, in an interview to PTI said that once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, there will be enough resources to deliver as well as make it accessible to the citizens.

“In India, the new coronavirus cases and number of deaths have declined in the last three weeks and the pandemic has stabilised in most of the states

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

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 the people are still susceptible to coronavirus infections.

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

The coronavirus death toll climbed to 1,14,031, the health ministry’s data showed. The number of active cases of coronavirus infection remained below eight lakh for the second consecutive day.