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Third Covid wave imminent: IMA says pilgrimage, tourist travel can wait


New Delhi, July 12: 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, saying these events are potential super spreaders for a third wave of the pandemic.

Stressing that tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour are needed, but can wait for a few more months, the IMA, 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.
Tourism Minister appeals to tourist
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister, Kishan Reddy has appealed to tourists to maintain Covid protocol
The government does not want to stop tourists but certain protocols must be followed to keep Covid at bay, Reddy said on Monday amid concerns about burgeoning crowds at popular hill destinations and other tourist spots.
Every individual must be a Covid warrior if the pandemic is to be defeated, Reddy, who is also minister for culture and DoNER (Development of North-Eastern Region), said while appealing to people to exercise caution.

While this is the responsibility of the state governments, we have issued advisories to follow Covid protocol. The only way to stop Covid is through partnership with the general public. I appeal to all tourists on behalf of the government of India to follow protocols which have been placed for their own safety, the minister told reporters during a visit to the National Archive of India.
Each individual of this country has to be a Covid warrior and only then can we defeat this. The government does not want to stop tourists but it is our responsibility to keep everyone safe, he added.
People, Reddy said, should keep in mind what happened in their cities, towns and districts during the coronavirus crisis when thousands lost their lives, and thus think twice before breaking any rules. (PTI)