As AY.4.2 cases soar, will festive season trigger COVID-19 third wave in India?

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As the COVID-19 cases across the country started decreasing in September, states decided to relax several restrictions and guidelines, allowing more free movement of the people. Now, experts have argued that this might trigger a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.

New concerns have now emerged in the country, with the cases of the new COVID-19 variant AY.4.2 increasing across the country. Till now, around 17 cases of the AY.4.2 variant have emerged in the country, which has made authorities concerned.

The AY.4.2 variant of coronavirus is actually a sub-lineage of the Delta variant, which was led to the deadly second wave of the pandemic across the country. Though cases of this new variant are being detected across the world, there is little data available regarding the severity of this infection.

Over the course of the past few weeks, experts have predicted that the third wave might hit India soon after the festival season in country. With Diwali approaching, many states have witnessed a surge of crowds in market areas, flouting COVID-19 norms and increasing the threat of the third wave.

Though states have decided to impose COVID-19 restrictions during the festival season, crowds can be seen thronging markets and streets, with festival gatherings being conducted every day. The AY.4.2 variant has spread in several foreign countries, which makes it possible for it to enter our country in full force post the Diwali season.

The central government has urged all the states and union territories to make sure that COVID-19 guidelines are being followed during this festive season. The Centre has also extended the nationwide restrictions till November 30 in this regard.

Further, the vaccination drive in India is being conducted in full force. Over 50 percent of the country’s population has been administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. PM Modi is also scheduled to hold a review meeting with the state authorities where the vaccination rate is slow, as compared to the rest of the country.

The fate of the country with regard to the third wave of the pandemic will only be predicted after the festival season is over. Till then, all citizens are advised to practice all the COVID-19 safety norms and adhere to the government-issued guidelines.

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