Public representatives and politicians should not make unauthorised statements indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic is nearing an end as such remarks invoke a "false sense of security" among the people, the Indian Medical Association said on Monday.
The association's reaction came after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said that the country is "in the end game of the COVID-19 pandemic" and Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the coronavirus is nearing an "endemic" phase in the national capital.
An infection is said to be endemic in a population when it is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a geographic area without external inputs.
It is incorrect to say at this stage that it is the end of the pandemic or it is endemic, the doctors' body said.
"Unauthorised political statements shall invoke a false sense of security and hence, the Indian Medical Association, whose 740 frontline warriors lost their life in this war against the coronavirus, appeals to all our fellow citizens to be vigilant on wearing mask, physical distancing and hygiene and take vaccination to get yourself immunity and altruistic health contribution for herd immunity," it said.
"The introduction of a much efficacious and safe coronavirus vaccine in our country, is a tool for us to face this challenging war with confidence," the Indian Medical Association said.
Mutated strains of the coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil "are still haunting us", the association said in a statement.
The IMA claimed that it has been seen in the last one week that there has been a 35 to 40 per cent increase in the number of cases, and even in the national capital, the daily average has risen from 100 to 140 patients.
"It is painful to note that the discussion on endemic versus pandemic status of the disease is echoing in the political corridors. However, it ought to be substantiated by scientific evidence by the World Health Organisation or the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) only," it said.
"Let us not boast or (blow the) trumpet ourselves, and indulge in prognosticating the course of this viral disease and off guard our preventive measures against this dreaded disease at this stage," the IMA warned.
The IMA feels that as countries are still reeling "under the clutches of this disease, we need to deem it as pandemic only at this stage and work hard" on preventive, curative and rehabilitative works, according to the statement.