NEW DELHI – A top scientific adviser to the Indian government warned today the country would inevitably face further waves of the coronavirus pandemic, as almost 4,000 people died in the space of a day.
With hospitals scrabbling for beds and oxygen in response to a deadly second surge in infections, the World Health Organisation said in a weekly report that India accounted for nearly half the coronavirus cases reported worldwide last week and a quarter of the deaths.
Many people have died in ambulances and car parks waiting for a bed or oxygen, while morgues and crematoriums struggle to deal with a seemingly unstoppable flow of bodies.
The government’s principal scientific adviser, K. VijayRaghavan, warned that even after infection rates subside the country should be ready for a third wave.
“Phase 3 is inevitable, given the high levels of circulating virus,” he told a news briefing. “But it is not clear on what timescale this phase 3 will occur… We should prepare for new waves.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been widely criticised for not acting sooner to suppress the second wave, after religious festivals and political rallies drew tens of thousands of people in recent weeks and became “super spreader” events.