1 year of Janata curfew, 2nd wave grips India

New Delhi : India is facing a second wave of infections after a year since India went into a ‘Janata Curfew’ ahead of the world’s most stringent lockdown against covid-19. With vaccines now available, experts are calling for a massive scale-up in the immunization programme to protect the vulnerable.

Calls for expanding immunization follow a surge in Mumbai, Pune and some other cities that epidemiologists attribute to people becoming unmindful of the risks as they step out after a year of working from home.

K. Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India said, “We need to increase the coverage of vaccinations. The criteria is reasonable—we are talking about essential workers, elderly and people who have comorbidities. But that must extend as fast as possible, at least to those over the age of 45. I don’t think we should raise it by looking at evidence of comorbidities. We can just look at the age of 40 or 45 (years).” He added that younger people can be looked at later.

Starting with the Janata Curfew on 22 March, it has been a year since India went into a complete lockdown. But with over 11 million total cases and the fourth-largest number of fatalities — at more than 150,000 — the country still has the second-largest caseload in the world. There is a new wave of cases, especially in Maharashtra, Punjab and Gujarat after a respite of a few months.

There are vaccines available and there is also a better understanding of how to treat the disease by repurposing drugs like remdesivir, favipiravir and dexamethasone.

Over 40 million vaccine doses have been administered across the country, with Serum Institute of India’s Covishield making up around 90% of these and Bharat Biotech International’s Covaxin accounting for the rest.

Currently, India vaccinates around 2-3 million a day, but both Reddy and Gyani said the government should increase the pace.

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