‘India may see rise in Covid cases in January; severe symptoms unlikely’ | India News

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NEW DELHI: Covid-19 cases in India may witness a sharp uptick in January but are unlikely to cause severe symptoms or death, government sources said on Wednesday, citing past trends.
China’s U-turn on travel restrictions at a time when it is grappling with a massive surge in infections is a concern as it could add to the caseload in India.
During the previous spikes, the sources said, a new wave of Covid-19 hit India 30-35 days after it infected individuals in East Asia. China has already witnessed a peak in Covid-19 cases about 10 days ago and there is now a rising trend in the US and some of the pacific island nation, the sources said.
“China has been hit hard by the current wave because of two reasons: first, their population has low levels of exposure to natural infection. Second, their vaccination rates are poor and, reports suggest, that the vaccines aren’t very effective. In India, natural infection rates are very high and most of our population is fully vaccinated,” said an expert. Several top health experts have also advised against panic and fear over a potential rise in Covid-19 cases in the country, arguing that a surge in cases, even if it were to happen, was unlikely to result in increased hospitalisations or deaths.
With Chinese authorities removing travel curbs, there is a fear that there could be a massive surge in movement of people from across the border. Although India still doesn’t have regular flights with China, flights are available from Hong Kong.
“China has allowed non-tourist travel between mainland China and Hong Kong. So, people (non-tourists) from mainland China, who might be carriers of the new strain, can fly to India via Hong Kong,” a source said.
However, the source said, complete restriction on flights between Hong Kong and India was unlikely and there was focus on tightening the screening methods instead. “We may make it mandatory for travellers from high-risk nations to upload a RT-PCR negative report,” said a source.
Officials in the health ministry said that the mask mandate was also unlikely to make a comeback. “We are not going to impose any fine or make masks mandatory,” said an official.



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