A noted health expert at AIIMS urged people to be cautious about the pandemic for the next one to two years. The warning comes a few days after the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had said a third wave of the pandemic is "inevitable and imminent," and that tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour can wait for some more time.
Dr Neeraj Nischal, professor at medicine department of AIIMS, observed that ripples of the second wave of the pandemic are still seen. "Idea of festivals is to share happiness, not COVID. For next one-two years till the pandemic is not under control, we shouldn't become part of reason for causing the pandemic to explode again," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
Health experts have been urging people to continue to be careful and avoid large gatherings and festivities even as the states have been relaxing COVID-19 norms. In the wake of the second wave, the annual Kanwar Yatra has been cancelled in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, Kerala came under fire over its decision to allow three-day relaxation in COVID-19 restrictions in the state in view of the upcoming Bakrid festival. The Supreme Court, on Monday, asked the Kerala government to file its response over the same soon. The matter will come up for hearing on Tuesday.
The IMA had a few days ago, said, "It is painful to note that in this crucial time, when everyone needs to work for the mitigation of the third wave, in many parts of the country, both governments and the public are complacent and engaged in mass gatherings without following COVID protocols. Tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour, all are needed, but can wait for a few more months."
"Opening up these rituals and enabling people without vaccination to go scot-free in these mass gatherings are potential super spreaders for the COVID-19 third wave," the IMA said.