Southeast Asia

Covid 3.0? Unprecedented rise in cases in Southeast Asian countries

Covid-19 cases have started to shoot up in many countries even before the second wave could calm down completely. Does this indicate the onset of the third wave?

Even before the second Covid wave could recede completely, cases have started to shoot up in many countries, indicating the onset of the third wave. Daily new cases globally rose to an average of 4.63 lakh on July 14 from 3.59 lakh on June 21.

The increasing reproduction (R) value is also a matter of concern. R value is the number of persons one infected person can pass on the infection to. The global R-value rose from a low of 0.86 in the first week of June to 1.12 on July 13. Russia, United Kingdom, South Africa and Mexico are some of the countries that have been hit by a significant surge in cases.

On July 1, average cases per million in the UK was 304, while that in Mexico was 36. The numbers surged to 515 and 65 respectively on July 14.

Southeast Asia under spotlight

Though cases are rising in many regions across the world, the situation seems particularly unfavourable in Southeast Asian countries. Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand are the countries witnessing an unprecedented rise in coronavirus cases.

Indonesia had registered an average of 29.5 daily new cases per million population on June 14, which rose to 151.8 on July 14. Likewise, average daily cases per million population rose from 2.7, 178.2 and 39.7 in Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand to 21.8, 299.2 and 126.6 during the same period.

Is India immune from third wave?

India is not immune from the possibility of the third wave. Non-compliance to Covid-appropriate behaviour after the first wave led to a massive second wave. Once again, hill stations and seashores are crowded with people, and markets have returned to their normal pace.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has warned about the deadly consequences of such inappropriate behaviour, especially at a time the festive season is round the corner.

“We request you to disallow the proposed Kanwar Yatra in July-August, 2021, as the third wave of Covid pandemic is ready to knock on the doors of this country according to several specialists,” IMA Uttarakhand secretary Amit Khanna wrote to chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.

Vaccination is one weapon that can be used against the deadly virus and in preventing the third wave. However, the pace of vaccination has dramatically fallen in India. The daily average of vaccination dropped from 64.38 lakh on June 26 to a mere 35.44 lakh on July 10.

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