New Delhi, September 28: The Center on Tuesday extended nationwide COVID-19 containment measures until October 31 given localized spread of the virus in a few states and the disease that continues to be a public health challenge in the country .
In a communication to the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also warned of the possibility that appropriate COVID behavior may not be strictly observed during the next festival, which could lead to a further increase in cases.
Despite a decline in COVID-19 cases, it is essential to enforce guidelines that allow regular festivities in a prudent, safe and COVID-friendly manner, he said.
He said daily COVID-19 cases and the total number of COVID-19 patients in the country are steadily decreasing, but there is still localized spread of the virus in a few states and COVID-19 continues to be a public health challenge in the country.
“The utmost vigilance must be maintained with regard to mass rally events, in order to avoid any possibility of an increase in COVID-19 cases.
“Therefore, large-scale gatherings at fairs, festivals and religious events and functions may lead to a further increase in COVID-19 cases in the country,” the communication said.
The Home Secretary said states and UTs should closely monitor case positivity, hospitals and intensive care bed occupancy in each district under their jurisdiction.
“Relevant state governments and UT administrations, with high positivity in their districts, should take proactive containment measures in order to effectively stop the peak of cases and contain the spread of transmission,” a- he declared.
Bhalla said it is important to identify early warning signs of potential flare-ups and take appropriate action to curb the spread.
“This would require a localized approach, as was mentioned in the opinion of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of September 21, 2021,” he said.
The Home Secretary said there should be continued focus on the five-pronged strategy, namely Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and Adherence to Appropriate Behavior for COVID, to navigate safely during the holiday season and avoid the possibility of an increase in COVID-19 cases.
He said state governments and UT administrations should continue their immunization program with a focus on accelerating immunization of eligible age groups and prioritizing the second dose to eligible beneficiaries.
The interior minister urged the chief secretaries to instruct the district and all other relevant local authorities to take the necessary measures, as outlined in the union’s health ministry notice for a prompt and effective management of COVID-19.
“I would also advise that orders issued by respective state governments and UT administrations or district authorities in this regard be widely disseminated to the public and officials in the field for their proper implementation,” a- he declared.
The number of new coronavirus cases was recorded at less than 20,000 (18,795) in India after 201 days on Tuesday, bringing the country’s COVID-19 tally to 3,36,975,581, while the number of active cases fell to 2 92,206, the lowest in 192 days, according to the Union Health Ministry.
A total of 18,795 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded within 24 hours, while the death toll from the viral disease climbed to 4,47,373 with 179 more deaths, the lowest in 193 days , according to ministry data updated at 8:00 a.m.
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