Mumbai, Nov 24 (IANS) AMaharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has cautioned that the third wave of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is likely to hit the state by December, but it will be mild, here on Wednesday.
The minister's assertions came a day after the Centre chided the state for a drastic fall in the testing rates - from 2.69 lakhs per day in May to barely 98,000 now in Nov.
Union Health Secretary Ranjit Bhushan said in districts of Akola, Amravati, Buldhana, Dhule, Gondiya, Hingoli, Nandurbar, Washim and Yavamal, the testing rate was lower than the WHO recommended 140 tests per million daily.
Minister Tope said that the possible low impact of the third wave would be due to the good vaccination rate achieved by the state in the past few months.
"Over 80 percent of the state's eligible population is vaccinateda Infection is less and reducing, while the mortality rate is also nearing zero," Tope said, adding the vaccination drive has played a major role in curbing further spread of Covid-19.
Besides, he said that considerable immunity and antibodies are developed in the youth, and despite the possibility of the third wave, the mild attack would not necessitate huge requirements of ICU care or medical oxygen.
Nevertheless, Tope has urged the Centre to widen the vaccination coverage by including children between 12-18 years on priority.
Topea¿s statement is significant considering his meeting last week with Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in New Delhi.
At that time, he proposed Mandaviya to consider the proposal to administer vaccine booster doses to all healthcare workers ahead of the likely third wave.
The first Covid-19 wave came in 2020, followed by the second wave in early-2021, and the third wave may hit next month, though there is no shortage of vaccines in the state which is currently having surplus stocks.