COVID-19: Union Home Secy directs states to implement pro-active containment measures ahead of festive season

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Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla. [File Photo/ANI]
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla. [File Photo/ANI]

New Delhi [India], August 28 (ANI) :Taking cognizance of the localised spread of Covid-19 virus in few states, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday extended all existing safety protocol related to the pandemic up to September 30 to curb further spread of the deadly disease, directing state governments to take pro-active containment measures ahead of the upcoming festival season.

The MHA made the announcement through an order issued on Saturday, mentioning "Covid-19 containment measures will remain in force upto September 30, 2021".

Noting that the overall pandemic situation in India now appears to be "largely stable, except for the localised spread of the virus in few states", the MHA order, issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, directed the state governments concerned to take pro-active containment measures ahead of the upcoming festival season in the country.

The order, sent to the chief secretaries of all states, mentioned that the overall pandemic situation at the national level now appears to be largely stable, except for the localised spread of the virus in few states.

Moreover, the order said, the total number of active cases and high case positivity in some districts continue to remain a matter of concern.

In the order, the government said that the earlier order regarding the implementation of Covid-19 protocols, which was issued on June 29, will now be enforced up to September 30.

"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," the MHA order read.

"It is important to identify the warning signs of potential surges early on and to take appropriate measures to curb the spread. This would require a localised approach, as has been mentioned in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) advisories dated April 25, 2021, and June 28, 2021."

Pointing out at the upcoming festive season across several states in India, the government further advised the state governments and UT administrations to ensure that there are no large gatherings. If required, necessary local restrictions should be imposed in potentially crowded places, where people must follow Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

"We need to continue focus on the five-fold strategy, that is, Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour for effective management of Covid-19," the order said.

The Centre noted that weekly enforcement data, received from the state governments regarding the enforcement of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, suggests that there is a "downward trend" in the enforcement of face masks in public, the maintaining of social distancing norms, imposition of fines, and the likes.

The Home Ministry advised the state governments to augment their respective efforts in this regard.

"Further, it must be ensured that areas having no virus or low virus transmission are adequately protected by progressively ramping up testing and other measures like the ILI/SARI surveillance, market surveillance, etc," said the order.

Warning no laxity in the enforcement of these measures, the Home Secretary made it clear in the order that the officers concerned will be made "personally responsible" for any leniency in meeting these instructions. (ANI)

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