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The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday extended the containment guidelines for Covid-19 till October 31 as the festive season approaches. With crowds expected to swell at markets, the home secretary also wrote to all states to ensure Covid-appropriate behavior is enforced among the public.
“The daily Covid-19 cases and overall number of Covid-19 patients in the country are declining steadily. However, there are still localised spreads of the virus in few states and Covid-19 still continues to be a public health challenge in our country,” Ajay Kumar Bhalla said in his letter.
“With the decline in Covid-19 cases, there is a possibility that Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) is not adhered to strictly, especially during the upcoming festivals. It is, therefore, critical to enforce adherence to guidelines which allows regular festivities in a cautious, safe and Covid-appropriate manner and most vigil has to be maintained in respect of mass gathering events, so as to avoid any possibility of surge in Covid-19 cases,” Bhalla added.
He also warned that large-scale gatherings at fairs and religious events may lead to fresh surge in Covid-19 cases in the country. “States/ UTs, on a regular basis, should closely monitor case positivity, hospital/ICU bed occupancy of every district falling under their jurisdiction. The State Governments/UT Administrations concerned, having high positivity in their districts, should take pro-active containment measures so as to effectively arrest the spike in cases and to contain the spread of transmission,” Bhalla said. He also advocated for focus on test-track-treat-vaccination strategy.
At 18,795, the daily rise in India's Covid-19 cases dropped below 20,000 for the first time in six months. But experts have warned of a third wave if appropriate measures are not followed during festivals.