India's R-value which indicates the rate of spread of coronavirus has further reduced to 1.57 in the week from January 14-21 and the national peak of the third wave of the infection is expected to come in the next fortnight, according to a preliminary analysis by IIT Madras.

R-value indicates the number of people an infected person can spread the disease to. A pandemic is considered to end if this value goes below 1.

According to the analysis shared by IIT Madras with PTI, the R-value was recorded at 1.57 between January 14 and January 21. The number was recorded at 2.2 in the week of January 7-13 while it was 4 from January 1-6 and 2.9 from December 25- 31.

The preliminary analysis was done by computational modelling by IIT Madras' Department of Mathematics and Centre of Excellence for Computational Mathematics and Data Science headed by Prof Neelesh S Upadhye and Prof S Sundar.

According to the data, the R-value of Mumbai was 0.67, Delhi 0.98, Chennai 1.2 and Kolkata 0.56.

Explaining further, Dr Jayant Jha, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics, IIT Madras, said the R-value of Mumbai and Kolkata shows that peak is over there and it is becoming endemic while for Delhi and Chennai it is still close to 1.

"The reason for that could be that as per the new ICMR guidelines they have removed the requirement for contact tracing and therefore there are less infections as earlier," he told PTI.

Apex health body the ICMR has issued guidelines as per which contacts of coronavirus patients do not need testing unless identified as high-risk based on age or comorbidities.

Jha further said as per their analysis, the coronavirus peak is likely to come in the next 14 days till February 6.

The earlier prediction was that the peak of the third wave is likely between February 1 and February 15.

The third wave of COVID-19 is being driven by the Omicron variant. India logged 3,33,533 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, raising the tally to 3,92,37,264.

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