Tension arose in Punjab as 81 percent out of 401 sent for genome sequencing testing was found to carry the UK strain of Covid-19 on Tuesday. Amid this alarming situation, the state government’s health adviser and Covid expert committee head Dr. KK Talwar stated that Punjab would soon be caught in the throes of a second wave of the pandemic which would peak in the last week of March and would be far worse than the earlier one.
Talking to Indian Express, Dr. KK Talwar revealed that the UK strain of Covid was found in three months old samples and was 70 percent more infectious than the earlier strain but was not as virulent.
He said that the UK strain of the virus had been present in the state all along, the first samples of which were collected early in January. However, even after repeated appeals to the center, the test reports of these samples were not handed over to the state until late March.
He added that the state authorities are hoping that Covid-19 cases peak as per the projections and in a week’s time subside.
Dr. Talwar was of the opinion that the spurt in Covid-19 cases was due to the opening of educational institutions in the state. He said that as per data accumulated by the state officials it was found out that young people contributed more to the spread of the virus owing to their careless attitude in following the covid safety rules.
He added that laxity among the citizens in attending weddings, public gatherings, and not wearing masks contributed to the surge in the cases further.
However, at present, Punjab has decided to close down colleges and schools again which might be fruitful in containing the virus spread hoped, Dr. Talwar. However, how effective were the measures in controlling the virus can only be known after a period of 7-10 days.
On that note, the health adviser appealed to the people of Punjab to abide by social distancing norms, to maintain the wearing of masks in public, and to minimize socialising for a few days until the situation comes under control.