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Too early to say 2nd wave has peaked; vaccine availability “national bottleneck”: Crisil

Even as new COVID-19 infections have shown a declining trend, credit rating agency Crisil on Monday said it is “too early” to say that the second wave of the pandemic has peaked and flagged concerns over the vaccination drive.

After opening up the vaccination for all adults, the drive has suffered because availability of vaccines has become a “national bottleneck”, the rating agency said in a report.

It said new cases touched 4.14 lakh on May 6, and have now declined to an average of 3.6 lakh a day for the week ended May 16.

The decline in new cases offers some respite, but, “it’s too early to call a peak”, the report noted.

It also acknowledged that the new cases have fallen without a dip in testing numbers.

“India’s COVID-19 affliction curve has turned for the first time since the second wave began, with daily cases in the week ended May 16 falling 15 per cent sequentially,” it said.

“While vaccination was opened to all adults two weeks back to battle the fierce second wave, vaccine availability has become a national bottleneck,” it said.

As a result of this, some states have announced a temporary halt to their vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group and prioritised those in the 45 plus bracket, especially the second doses, it added.

On the economic front, the agency said high-frequency indicators have continued to soften and the mobility indicators, in particular, have fallen to June 2020 level.

Meanwhile, in a note, American brokerage Morgan Stanley said the COVID-19 flare-ups in India are a temporary “speed bump, not a permanent roadblock”.

The brokerage said it expects the Reserve Bank to cut rates by 25 basis points in December quarter.

Even if the pace of vaccination in India is slower than developed markets, it would nudge Asia towards recovery, it said. PTI