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Delhiites Question Gov't for Running Public Transport at Full Capacity Amid Fears of 3rd COVID Wave

© Adnan AbidiA general view shows an almost empty highway during lockdown by the authorities to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
A general view shows an almost empty highway during lockdown by the authorities to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.07.2021
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The second COVID-19 wave took the country by surprise, leading to a collapse of health infrastructure. In the last few months, India has faced a crippling shortage of hospital beds, oxygen, medicines, and even burial and cremation grounds.
The Delhi authorities' decision to allow full seating capacity on public transport in the capital has stoked fears of a third COVID wave in India. 
Speaking to Sputnik, Chitra Sharma, a daily commuter on the Delhi metro, said that operating public transport at full capacity is illogical.  
"The government seems to have forgotten about the damage caused or situation created during the second COVID wave. Inside the metro, passengers were violating the rules and safety protocols even at half capacity seating, while the full capacity seating sounds like nothing but a clear invitation to the third wave," Sharma said. 
"Thermal screening of passengers at the entrance is being carried out. But even if one asymptomatic person transmits the virus, thousands of people will be infected. Our health infrastructure, doctors will again have a difficult time if such a situation spreads the virus in the city,” said Jatin Singh, another commuter in Delhi.  
​​Relaxed Norms May Have Consequences: Experts
Medical experts believe that even though the COVID infection rate is slowing down in Delhi, the government and public should still be vigilante, especially in view of the second wave that recently devastated the country. 
"We relaxed the norms earlier this year during April and May and saw the consequences (as India faced an exponential rise in COVID cases),” said Dr. Naga Suresh Veerapu, a virologist at the Department of Life Sciences, Shiv Nadar University.  
"We don't have adequate healthcare system to deal with huge number of cases," he added. 
According to Dr. Sakshi Bharadwaj, restrictions should remain in place in all public places and precautionary measures should be taken while people travel, at least until the situation improves. 
"With the emergence of new variant and its potential of more transmissibility and possible chance of neutralising the present antibodies, we have to be more vigilant in following COVID appropriate behaviour,” she said.
“Looking at our given population, a lot of people are yet to be vaccinated and can become silent carriers in closed spaces especially in metros or other public transportation. We can't expect virus to vanish magically but all these confluence factors need to be looked after," Dr. Bharadwaj added.  
Projected Third Wave 
Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the third wave of the pandemic is at an advanced stage around the world. It says the wave is being driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, first reported in India. It's predicated that India will be hit by its third COVID wave at the end of August. 
Recently, V.K. Paul, a member of NITI Aayog, a government-backed public policy think tank, said the COVID situation in the country is now under control "but India is far from achieving herd immunity either through vaccination or through natural infection.”
“Hence, the risk remains – the next few months will be very crucial," he added. 
According to the federal Health Ministry, India on Tuesday reported 29,689 new COVID cases. The number is the lowest daily rise in new cases in over four months.
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