New Delhi: ‘We will continue to wear the mask till 2022’, Dr V.K. Paul, Member (health) at the NITI Aayog and veteran paediatrician said, adding that a studied combination of vaccines, essential medicines and strict enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour would be needed for the fight against coronavirus. Hinting towards a possible third wave of Covid-19 in India, Paul said that the country is entering a ‘risky period’ as the festivals are set to unfold.Also Read - Third Wave of Corona in Karnataka? Rising Viral Flu Cases of Children in 12 Districts Keep Authorities on Their Toes

‘Don’t Let Your Guards Down’ Also Read - Niti Aayog Launches 'Shoonya' Program to Promote Zero-Pollution Delivery Vehicles

Stating that the third wave of virus cannot be ruled out, Paul told NDTV that if people lower their guard this festive season, it could lead to a total mess.  On being asked if restrictions should be imposed if a situation arises, he said, “There are ways to ward off the virus, in theory, in such a situation. And there are guidelines that are available to invoke restrictions in a graded manner. And they should be invoked when the time comes.” Also Read - Third Wave of Corona Unlikely If There Are No New Variants of COVID: Top Virologist

No Large Gathering During Festivals: Centre to States, UTs

Earlier last month, the Central government had also asked all states and union territories to ensure there is no large gathering during festivals and that they take proactive measures to check the spread of coronavirus.

“It is important to identify warning signs of potential surges early on and to take appropriate measures to curb the spread. This would require a localised approach, as has been mentioned in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) advisories dated April 25 and June 28,” Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla had said, extending the COVID-19 guidelines till September 30.

COVID-19 Situation in India

The count of daily new cases in India has remained below 50,000 for 78 consecutive days. Yesterday,  27,254 new COVID-19 cases were reported which took the infection tally in the country to 3,32,64,175, while the count of active cases declined to 3,74,269.

The death toll due to the disease has climbed to 4,42,874—1,38,142 people lost their lives in Maharashtra, 37,504 in Karnataka, 35,168 in Tamil Nadu, 25,083 in Delhi, 22,883 in Uttar Pradesh, 22,551 in Kerala and 18,577 in West Bengal. The Health Ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to co-morbidities.

Meanwhile, the daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.26 per cent. This has been below three per cent for the last 14 days, and below five per cent for 97 consecutive days now, the health ministry said. The weekly positivity rate was recorded at 2.11 per cent. The figure has been below three per cent for the last 80 days.