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New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry at its weekly media briefing on Thursday showed comparison between the third and second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India. Through data, the ministry highlighted change in the number of fatalities and the vaccination coverage in the country.
Notably, today for the first time, the Union health ministry referred to the current COVID outbreak as the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, "We are witnessing a third surge in our country."
He further said Asia has been showing a sharp surge in global contribution from 7.9 per cent to nearly 18.4 per cent in four weeks. "A sharp surge is also seen in COVID-19 cases in India," he added.
Bhushan also said Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, Delhi and Rajasthan are among the top 10 States in terms of active cases.
He further informed, "Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh are among the 'States of Concern'. We have sent Central health teams to these States and are continuously reviewing the situation."
The health ministry said there are 515 districts in India that are recording weekly positivity of more than 5 per cent until January 19.
The health secretary said on April 30, 2021, when the second wave peaked in India, it reported 3,86,452 new cases and 3,059 deaths with 31,70,228 active cases. The proportion of fully vaccinated people was 2 per cent by then. Comparing the previous peak with the third wave, he said on January 20, 2022, there were 3,17,532 new cases, 380 deaths, and 19,24,051 active cases in the country with 72 per cent fully vaccinated people.
Dr Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said the ongoing third wave in India is not that severe due to the vaccine coverage, "We are not witnessing severe illness and deaths due to COVID-19," he added.