New Delhi: The seroprevalence data and the scale of vaccination indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic in India may be entering into an endemic stage, a top official from the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
“Considering data from serosurvey and large scale vaccination undergoing, the COVID-19 led pandemic we may be entering into an endemic phase,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry during a virtual interaction on COVID-19 organised by the ministry.
However, he suggested that people should continue to practice restrain and do not indulge in complacent behaviour, especially as the festivities are around the corner.
Agarwal appealed that people should avoid celebratory gatherings as it may undo the advanced the country has achieved in controlling the COVID-19 spread. He also said that travelling plans during the festivals should be avoided as well.
“Celebratory gatherings and masses need to be controlled. I also urge people to ditch their travelling plans and celebrate the festivals inside their homes with their loved ones,” he said.
The top official also said that people should learn from what happened in the past when restrictions were lifted for religious celebrations.
“Several states allowed relaxations during celebrations and end up in increased transmission. They witnessed an unabated surge in the cases and later found it extremely hard to control it. We are in a stage when we have achieved advances over the virus and we should not do away with it,” he cautioned.
“Even now, 60 per cent of districts are reporting 5% daily positivity,” Agarwal added.
A few health experts have been suggesting that COVID-19 in India is heading towards endemicity.
Top virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang had also said that the coronavirus pandemic in the country may be heading towards the endemic stage, adding that a third wave, if it does take place, is likely to be due to local flare-ups that would be smaller and spread wider across the country.
The endemic stage of any disease is reached when a large section of the population becomes immune to a disease – either through vaccination or through antibodies acquired from a prior infection. At this state, the spread of the disease starts to slow down.