Rashmi Ranjan

Amid a rapid surge in Covid-19 infections in China, health experts have predicted that India may witness a fourth wave of the pandemic in the second or third week of March this year. 

Even though, Odisha is registering one or two Covid infections daily, in terms of active case tally in the country, the State ranks fifth. The current active case tally in Odisha is in double digits at 86.

Kerala is at the top with 1,419 active cases followed by Karnataka (308), Maharashtra (136) and Tamil Nadu (89).

On Tuesday, Odisha Health Department’s Special Secretary, Ajit Kumar Mohanty had said, "China is experiencing a massive surge and at the peak it will see around 7 to 10 lakh daily infections with 25,000 deaths on an average per day. Considering the fact that a peak in China will happen around mid-January, there could be a fourth Covid wave in India in the second or third week of March."

“Despite the fourth wave possibility, we hope that Covid transmission in India and Odisha will not be high as our Covid vaccination status is good,” Mohanty had said.

According to health experts, India has reported a new Covid variant- XBB1.5. Besides, the BF.7 Omicron sub-variant, which is now spreading tentacles in China, may increase infection in India. 

Meanwhile, Odisha Health Director Bijay Mohapatra said as several countries are witnessing a rising trend in Covid infection, India may also experience the same. So we need to be extra cautious.

"Our surveillance is on. Though the positivity rate is very low in our State, if required, the number of beds at the hospitals will be increased. Besides, testing facilities have been prepared," said Mohapatra.

On the other hand, health experts have also cautioned that a slight negligence in following Covid-appropriate behaviour may lead to rise in cases in Odisha as the State is all set to witness huge footfall of foreign visitors during the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup.

"Many foreign nationals will visit Odisha during the Hockey World Cup. If strict Covid measures are not followed, then the infections may shoot up in January," said health expert Professor Ashok Mahapatra.

(Reported by Harihar Chand, Kapilendra Pradhan)