In order to further ramp up the arrangements and prepare the state to thwart the much-anticipated third Covid wave, Punjab Chief Secretary, Vini Mahajan, on Monday held discussion with an eminent virologist Dr Shahid Jameel, the former head of the advisory group to the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia (INSACOG).Talking on Covid variants of concern, Dr Shahid Jameel said India ranked second among Covid infections and third among deaths and vaccination in the world. He highlighted the presence of Delta variant in India. Besides, Delta Plus variant, which is a combination of Delta and Beta variants, has also started spreading its tentacles in India with 7 such confirmed cases already found in the country.Highlighting the importance of vaccination, he said vaccine was the only resort to prevent the pandemic and also reduces the Covid severity. “Vaccination is the most cost effective way to protect from the dreaded virus,” he stressed.Extending a warm welcome to Dr Jameel, the Chief Secretary said weekly meetings were being organised by the Punjab Government to keep its doctors updated about every aspect of Covid and new challenges. Today’s discussion was also part of this series.Dr Jameel appreciated the Punjab Government’s much-needed initiative in this regard. He advised all to remain cautious and continue exercising Covid appropriate behaviour including wearing mask, washing hands, and maintaining social distancing.Principal Secretary Health Hussan Lal, Health Adviser Dr KK Talwar, Dr Pallabh Ray from PGIMER, Chandigarh and other senior health officials attended the discussion.