The Government of India (GoI) has extended existing Covid-19 guidelines until September 30, asking states to ramp up testing and avoid large gatherings during the festive season.
It also pointed out a “downward trend” in enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour, which, it has said, is a cause for concern in the wake of rising cases.
The orders, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act and, was followed by a letter from union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla to chief secretaries of all states and administrators of all union territories.
“Enforcement of COVID-19 appropriate behavior is essential for tackling the pandemic on a sustained basis. Weekly Enforcement Data, received from States/UTs regarding wearing face mask in public, maintaining social distancing norms, imposition of fines etc., indicates a downward trend in enforcement. States and UTs are requested to augment their enforcement efforts for effectively checking transmission of the disease,” Bhalla’s letter read, asking states to make officers personally responsible for any laxity.
Acknowledging that the pandemic is stable, Bhalla has cautioned states against complacency. He has asked states having high positivity in their districts to enforce pro-active containment measures so as to effectively arrest the spike in cases and to contain the spread of transmission.
“It is important to identify warning signs of potential surges early on and to take appropriate measures to curb the spread. This would require a localized approach,” the letter has said.
Bhalla has advised states to take suitable measures to avoid large gatherings during the coming festive season and, if required, impose local restrictions with a view to curb such large gatherings.
“In all crowded places, COVID appropriate behaviour should be strictly enforced. We need to continue focus on the five-fold strategy i.e. Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour, for effective management of COVID-19,” the letter read.