Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Sunday claimed that the state was prepared to tackle the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic “as and when it comes”, The Times of India reported.

Adityanath said that his government had defeated the first wave of pandemic and “got a grip on second wave”, according to the newspaper.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister also claimed that the coronavirus situation in Uttar Pradesh was not out of control, The Indian Express reported.

Adityanath added that Uttar Pradesh had set up a committee with members from multiple departments to track the coronavirus situation. He said that more than 1 crore people in the state had been vaccinated and the government was trying to get doses from abroad.

Amid concerns about the rapid spread of the coronavirus in rural areas, Adityanath said surveillance teams and extra testing kits had been sent there.

The Uttar Pradesh government has been criticised for the way it is handling the coronavirus crisis. The state government had earlier threatened legal action against those “spreading rumours” about its Covid mismanagement and has filed cases in some instances.

Besides this, over the last few days, thousands of corpses of suspected coronavirus patients have been spotted either floating in the Ganga river or buried along river banks in the state, as well as in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Adityanath claimed that in some cases, people dumped bodies into the river since the cremation grounds were overcrowded, according to The Indian Express.

“We have posted SDRF [State Disaster Response Force] and PAC [Provincial Armed Constabulary] personnel at every river and water body, and alerted panchayats and urban local bodies to see that no bodies are dumped in rivers,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “We have asked them to persuade people to not do this.”

Adityanath announced that his government will provide Rs 5,000 to those families who cannot bear cremation costs, The Times of India reported.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister claimed that his government was not concealing coronavirus-related numbers. “Everything is transparent,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “Every detail of testing, recoveries and deaths are uploaded on the government’s Covid portal.”

Uttar Pradesh recorded 10,682 new coronavirus cases and 311 deaths on Sunday. The state’s number of active cases stood at 1,63,003.

UP holds talks with Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson on vaccines

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government also held pre-bid talks with American firms Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson about the tender that it floated for 40 million doses [4 crore], The Indian Express reported on Sunday.

UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh told The Indian Express that the state has also ordered 50 lakh doses of Covishield and Covaxin each. “This will make our vaccination program for 18-44 up and going,” he added.

Several states in India are facing shortages of vaccines as manufacturers have not been able to meet supply requirements. At least eight of them have decided to float global tenders for procuring the doses as they struggle to inoculate those in the age group of 18-44, who became eligible for the shots in third phase of vaccination that rolled out on May 1.

On Saturday, Dr NK Arora, the chairperson of the Centre’s Covid Working Group, told NDTV that the rollout of coronavirus vaccines for the 18-44 age group should have been deferred.