Third COVID-19 wave likely; 3 factors ICMR recommends before easing curbs

COVID-19: Slight dip in state's TPR, active case load may decrease to 3.4 lakh by month-end
Health staff shifting COVID patients. File photo

New Delhi: Reiterating the need for vaccination to cover a wider base, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has directed to consider three factors at the district level before easing COVID-19 restrictions.

ICMR issued the directory even as the country remained concerned over a possible third pandemic wave.

The factors ICMR recommended to consider before easing restrictions are: the test positivity rate should remain below five per cent for more than a week; 70 per cent of those prone to COVID-19 should be vaccinated; and ensure the adherence to the basic norm of maintaining social distance, wearing face masks and frequent use of sanitiser.

Lifting restrictions in a phased manner would avoid the possibility of a widespread infection, ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava said, while stressing the utmost importance of vaccination.

The Centre was expecting the society to acquire herd immunity after vaccinating 70 per cent of the priority group. The entire Indian population could be vaccinated by the year-end. Dr Bhargava expressed hope that one crore people could be vaccinated daily by July or early August.

Virus with changed nature may have higher impact on children

A change in the nature of the virus can lead to a higher impact on children, the Union Ministry of Health has said.

NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul said the paediatric population has so far been asymptomatic, and the infection has not taken a serious shape in children.

Warning that the virus might change its behaviour among children, Dr Paul said the Centre would issue a set of guidelines for the paediatric population.

Dr Paul said preparations have already begun to meet the possibility of two to three per cent of children requiring hospitalization.

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