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India gears up for third wave of COVID-19

New Delhi, June 10: India faces the challenge of trying to gain the upper hand in its fight against COVID-19. A resurgence of COVID-19 is feared by many public health experts if it fails to act with haste now. Caught off-guard during a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, India paid dearly for ignoring early warnings with an official daily toll of over 4,500 deaths in mid-May. There is a renewed vaccination push and efforts to boost the medical infrastructure to stockpile supplies, such as oxygen cylinders, and augment care networks from city slums to far-flung villages.

At present, just 3.5 percent of India’s more than 1.3 billion people are fully vaccinated. K. Vijay Raghavan, a scientific adviser to the government, said in May that a third wave was “inevitable” as the virus mutates. On Thursday, India reported 94,052 fresh COVID-19 cases and 6,148 new deaths. The country has so far reported a total of 2,91,83,121 cases and 3,59,676 deaths.

From June 21, the central government will be in charge of buying 75 percent of the vaccine supply, with the rest being earmarked for the private sector for purchase. Coronavirus vaccinations for all adults at government sites will be free. The reversal comes days after the Supreme Court slammed the government for its muddled policies.