The country is past the coronavirus peak, a government-appointed panel said on Sunday, pointing to the tapering number of cases over last two weeks. From a peak of 97,000-plus cases, India is now logging around 60,000-plus cases a day.
Since August 8, India has been logging the highest figures worldwide in the daily spike in cases. On Sunday, in a first in nearly two months, the US had the higher figure.
The panel --which has members of the Indian Council of Medical Research and IITs -- said if safety measures are properly followed, the virus can be brought under control by "early next year, with minimal active cases by February end".
The total number of infections by the time the epidemic reaches its slowest point, could be about 105 lakh (10.5 million), the panel said. The current figure is 75 lakh.
No sharp rise in cases was seen due to movement of migrants to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar during the lockdown, the panel has said, stressing that "there would have been a significant adverse impact if migration was permitted before lockdown".
"Delaying the initial lockdown would have caused more difficulties," it added, underlining that India's total deaths could have exceeded 25 lakh by August if the government wouldn't have imposed one of the world's strictest lockdowns in March to check the spread of virus.
The highest number of fatalities recorded in the country so far was 1,290 on September 16.
The panel, however, has warned of a possible spike in the festive season and with the onset of winter. Both factors, it said, can increase people's susceptibility to covid. Festive seasons carry a big risk because of crowds and laxity in maintaining safety measures.