22:26 GMT04 March 2021
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    India, a country with a population of more than 1.3 billion, kicked off the world's largest COVID vaccination drive last month. The government aims to vaccinate 30 million frontline workers, including health workers, during the first phase of this drive.

    After almost a year of struggle and panic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, India has been able to heave a sigh of relief as the virus-positive tally slowly starts to fall. However, medical experts in the country feel the people should still stay cautious to avoid another wave. 

    Speaking to Sputnik, the medical experts have warned that a large number of people are still at risk of becoming infected. So, everyone still has to be alert and follow COVID guidelines. 

    People covering their faces with protective masks disembark a suburban train after authorities resumed the train services for all commuters after it was shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a railway station in Mumbai, India
    © REUTERS / HEMANSHI KAMANI
    People covering their faces with protective masks disembark a suburban train after authorities resumed the train services for all commuters after it was shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a railway station in Mumbai, India

    Dr Adarsh Pratap Singh, president of Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) - part of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi - said that developed western countries are still struggling with a rise in cases. 

    Referring to how many people in cities have ditched wearing a facial covering or not bothering with a mask while talking to each other, he warned: "I see a lot of people roaming around without masks in public which is inviting trouble. They need to be reminded that despite the vaccination drive underway, there could be a risk of a second wave, so we cannot take it lightly."

    Medical experts have - time and again - urged everyone to follow all the safety measures laid out by doctors and the government.

    "From 90,000 new cases a day a few months ago to just about 12,000-odd new infections reported, all of us (including the citizens) have done a tremendous job. But now we have to be extra cautious to get back to the pre-COVID routine," Singh added.

    Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR) national sero-survey to check the virus's prevalence in the population showed it was at 21.4 percent. 

    Another medical expert, Dr Lalit Kant, former head of epidemiology, ICMR, observed that only 21.4 percent of the population has so far been exposed to the virus.

    "We just need to maintain a cautious approach despite these reports, as it means a large proportion of the population was still vulnerable to the virus," Kant said. 

    In January, the Drug Controller General of India approved two vaccines – Oxford/AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which has been cleared for restricted use in emergency situations. 

    A woman walks past a painting of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day before the inauguration of the COVID-19 vaccination drive on a street in Mumbai, India
    © REUTERS / FRANCIS MASCARENHAS
    A woman walks past a painting of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day before the inauguration of the COVID-19 vaccination drive on a street in Mumbai, India

    According to the Indian Health ministry, as of 11 February more than 7 million have received the vaccination under the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination roll-out

    Government data reveals that India has registered a total of 12,923 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total tally to more than 10.08 million; 108 new fatalities have been recorded, taking the death toll to 155,360. However, the number of patients in the country who have recovered from the virus has passed the 10.05 million mark.

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    vaccination, India, SARS coronavirus, coronavirus, COVID-19, corona
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