“The cause for the surge … is multifactorial. But two main causes are that people stopped following Covid-appropriate behaviour during January-February when the vaccination started and cases went down. Also, at this time, the virus mutated and spread more rapidly,” Dr Guleria was quoted as saying by ANI.
The AIIMS chief expressed concern over the religious and political activities taking place in India amid a surge in infections, saying that they must be done in a restricted manner.
“This is a time when a lot of religious activities happen in our country and polls are also underway. We must understand that lives are also important. We can do this in a restricted manner so that religious sentiments are not hurt and Covid-appropriate behaviour can be followed,” he said.
His remarks come in the backdrop of the ongoing Kumbh mela in Uttarakhand, which has attracted people from different parts of the country in large numbers.
Several seers have tested positive for coronavirus cases at the event.
Meanwhile, elections are also under way in West Bengal, which is witnessing a rapid surge in daily cases.
Talking about the immunisation drive, Dr Guleria said that India should gradually lift or lower the age bar for beneficiaries to widen the vaccination ambit.
“We should gradually lift or lower the age bar so that more and more people come into the pool of people who can be vaccinated. That will happen in the coming few weeks.
“We will have more and more vaccines that will come into the common pool which will allow us to open up the vaccination to a larger population,” he said.
India has been witnessing a steep rise in coronavirus infections over the past few weeks, with fresh infections consistently crossing the 2-lakh mark.
On Saturday, India reported its highest single-day rise of 2,34,692 cases and 1,341 fatalities.
(With inputs from agencies)