India is yet to achieve herd immunity against coronavirus, said Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul on Friday. He said possibilities of new outbreaks cannot be ruled out and to contain the disease, the next 125 days would be very critical.
VK Paul, while addressing a Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's (MoHFW) briefing, said India needs to stop the infection from transmitting now and this is possible by adopting Covid-appropriate behaviour.
"We have yet not reached herd immunity against Covid-19. We can see new outbreaks of the viral infection but we need to stop it now. This is possible if we follow Covid-appropriate behaviour to stay in the safe zone," Paul said, adding that the next 125 days are "very critical" for India in the fight against Covid-19.
Herd immunity is a situation when enough people -- either from vaccination or a past infection -- gain immunity to stop the uncontrolled spread of infection. However, herd immunity doesn't make anyone immune to the infection, and outbreaks can still happen.
Paul, while warning about the third wave of the Covid pandemic, said, "Leaving North and South American regions of WHO, all other WHO regions are moving from good to bad and bad to worse. The world is moving towards a third wave and this is a fact."
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has asked us to take this as a red flag... the PM has given us the target to stall the third wave and it is possible," Paul added. He cautioned the Covid-19 situation in several countries is worsening and the "world is heading towards a third wave".
Spain has seen a 64 per cent hike in weekly Covid-19 cases, while the Netherlands has recorded a 300 per cent spike, said MoHFW. In Thailand, the situation was stable for some time but now it is also reporting a spike.
Even Africa has clocked a 50 per cent increase in Covid-19 cases. Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh too are now seeing an unprecedented spike, it added.
"Our population is still vulnerable. We have not reached herd immunity-- not even through infection; Not that we want to achieve herd immunity through natural infection. We are making continuous progress in vaccination. At least 50 per cent of our vulnerable population is vaccinated. So we are still vulnerable. But the situation as of now is under control and we will have to maintain this situation," Paul said.
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