Rest of Asia

Covid-19: Indian medical body appeals to states to control mass gatherings

PTI/New Delhi
Filed on July 12, 2021
Hindu devotees gather next to decorated elephants inside a temple in Ahmedabad on the eve of the annual Rath Yatra. — Reuters

Indian Medical Association says pilgrimage and tourist travels can wait till the third wave of Covid-19 is over

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) expressed concern on Monday over governments and people being complacent and engaging in mass gatherings without following Covid-19 protocols.

The IMA said these events are potential super spreaders for a third wave of the pandemic. Stressing that tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel and religious fervour can wait for a few more months, the association, in a statement, said global evidence and the history of any pandemic suggest that “the third wave is inevitable and imminent”.

“However, it is painful to note that in this crucial time, when everyone needs to work for the mitigation of the third wave, in many parts of the country, both governments and the public are complacent and engaged in mass gatherings without following Covid protocols. Tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour, all are needed, but can wait for a few more months.

“Opening up these rituals and enabling people without vaccination to go scot-free in these mass gatherings are potential super spreaders for the Covid third wave,” the IMA said.

The statement by the doctors comes on a day when the annual Rath Yatra began in Puri and amid talks of allowing the “Kanwar Yatra” in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The IMA appealed to all the states to control mass gatherings.

Based on the experience of the last one-and-a-half years of the war with the virus and the emerging evidence, it is obvious that by making the universal vaccination drive reach the maximum number of people and strictly following Covid-appropriate behaviour, people can face the third wave with confidence and mitigate its impact, the doctors’ body said.

“The consequences of treating a patient with Covid in a hospital and its impacts on the economy will be much better than the economic loss we suffer by avoiding such mass gatherings. It is the duty and responsibility of everyone at this moment to strictly enforce Covid-appropriate behaviour for minimum three more months and ensure that everyone near our houses is getting vaccinated,” the statement said.

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