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People Flocking To Hill Stations And Other Tourist Spots, Not Following Covid Norms Is Extremely Worrying: Doctors

As the country continues to fight with the rapidly transmissible Delta Variant, crowds were seen at hill stations and other tourist spots flouting Covid prevention measures like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing

People Flocking To Hill Stations And Other Tourist Spots, Not Following Covid Norms Is Extremely Worrying: Doctors
Highlights
  • Mixing of crowds could potentially lead to third wave: Experts
  • A large pool of virus is still present in the community: Dr Arvind Kumar
  • Experts warn that ignoring Covid norms can have dire consequences

New Delhi: When Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand eased Covid restrictions, people started flocking to the hill stations and other tourist spots to get a relief from scorching heat in other parts of the country. Most of these people, however, are seen flouting all Covid norms like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, according to many media reports. The government and experts have expressed concern over the complacency over Covid among people. In the light of the hill station crowds, the state governments of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have imposed some restrictions on people gathering at tourist spots once again and a slight increase has also been observed in the number of cases over the past week. NDTV spoke to Dr Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Institute of Chest Surgery, Medanta Hospital and Dr Rachna Kucheria, Epidemiologist about how worrying are these hill station crowds and can it lead to the third wave of Covid in the country.

Also Read: COVID-19: Difficult To Say When Third Wave Will Come, We’re Better Prepared: Expert Committee Chairman

According to Dr Kumar, the virus is still raging and even though the increase in cases may have slowed a bit but the infection is still happening and so the risk is still there. The hill stations need better crowd control, he said and added,

Looking at visuals of overcrowding in the hill station, I am not just worried, I am in fact, shocked and amazed that just one and a half months after the horror which the whole country has witnessed, how the people can be so callous towards their own health and the health of the country at large? The virus has not gone. It is very much there. In that huge crowd at Kempty fall, even if one infected person is there, that person can infect at least 50-100 people in the course of the day and those people can start the chain reaction across the country. I would strongly say that this irresponsible behaviour needs to be stopped.

He further said that the district administration and state government must impose restrictions to check the irresponsible behaviour of the people.

Will Hill Station Crowds Lead To The Third Wave Of COVID-19?

Dr Kumar asserted that people crowding at hill stationS could potentially trigger the third wave of Covid in the country. He warned that a large pool of virus is still present in the community, most of which is the Delta variant. He said,

The people crowding on hill stations are going to go back to their cities, taking the virus with them and spread it across, just like what happened after the political rallies and Kumbh Mela which fueled the second wave.

Further adding to why this is a matter of concern, Dr Kucheria said that the North Eastern and Southern parts of the country are reporting an increase in the number of cases per day in the last few days and the risk is still reeling over the country. She said,

R number or the Reproduction number (any disease’s ability to spread) in the North East right now is over one. This means that if one person is infected, he or she can infect more than one person and that could exponentially go up. All it takes is just one person and if the rest of them are susceptible, it could go really fast.

Also Read: Genome Sequencing Is Important To Track, Identify Variants And Control COVID-19 Pandemic: Epidemiologist Aditi Hazra

She further said that the people and the government must be cautious as the Delta variant which is far more contagious is still present. She added,

It is hard to say that when the third wave will arrive, but if the defying of preventive measures persists, we should be on alert in the next couple of weeks.

She further raised concerns about the kind of testing going on at the tourist places. She said,

It is important to focus on testing of people at these places in order to see what the positivity rate is and if any super spreader event is happening. It is important to get a sense of what is happening in terms of transmission rate and once the R number crosses one at these places, then there will be a logarithmic rise. That is why we constantly need to do two things- mind people’s behaviour and continue to test in and around places where people are crowding.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed concerns over the people gathering in markets and hill stations without wearing masks or observing social distancing norms. He urged people to guard themselves to prevent the third wave. He said,

It is not okay to have huge crowds in hill stations and markets without wearing masks. The virus does not come and go on its own… we bring it with us when we disobey the rules. Experts are warning us repeatedly that careless behaviour – like overcrowding – will lead to an increase in Covid cases. Steps should be taken to prevent crowds… We all need to work together to stop the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to make people understand that the third wave will not come on its own. The main question in our mind should be how to prevent the third wave and implement the COVID protocol strictly.

Also Read: Entire Adult Population In India Will Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19 By December: Dr NK Arora, Head, Expert Panel On Immunisation

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

22,95,44,435Cases
19,20,52,504Active
3,27,83,741Recovered
47,08,190Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.

India

3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,01,9897,586Active
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70

Kerala

45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214

Karnataka

29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14

Delhi

14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18

25,085

Odisha

10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14

10,517

Haryana

7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20

9,808

Bihar

7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15

9,659

Telangana

6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1

Punjab

6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2

Assam

5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6

Jharkhand

3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2

Goa

1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2

Puducherry

1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46

1,832

Manipur

1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3

Tripura

83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44

809

Mizoram

82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5

Meghalaya

79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1

Chandigarh

65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1

Sikkim

31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70

380

Nagaland

30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3

Ladakh

20,743 6

144 6

20,392

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,360 1

9 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3

129

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