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Senior virologist Shahid Jameel quits Centre's Covid panel after criticising govt

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New Delhi, May 16: Senior virologist Shahid Jameel on Sunday quit from a forum of scientific advisers set up by the government to detect variants of the coronavirus. His resignation comes weeks after criticised the government over handling of the covid pandemic.

It is still not clear, why Shahid Jameel, chair of the scientific advisory group of the forum known as INSACOG quit the panel.

Representational Image

"I am not obliged to give a reason," he said in a text message to news agency Reuters, adding that he quit on Friday.

According to the scientist, COVID-19 cases in the second wave also won't come down in as steady a fashion as they did after the first wave.

"In the first wave, we did see a steady decline. But remember... this time we are starting from a higher number. Instead of 96,000-97,000 cases, we are starting from over 400,000. So it will take that much longer. And during the process at every time point, you'll have a lot of cases," Jameel explained.

In his view, the actual mortality data for India is completely wrong. "... not because of some evil design of someone or a group of people or the state or whatever. But the way we record data I think is faulty."

The noted virologist also said people gave opportunity to the virus not to just spread but also to transmit quickly by not adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

"..by the time we came to December and the cases kept going down, we did start believing in this narrative (of immunity). There were a lot of big weddings that we had in January and February. So super spreading events happened," he added.

He cited other "super spreading events", including elections rallies and religious congregations, for the high number of cases in the second wave.

Vaccine coverage is a matter of concern in his view.

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