The Central government has issued guidelines to limit the spread of Covid-19, in the festival season. The Centre has asked states to maintain night curfews, weekend curfews, and other limitations in place to emphasize that COVID-19 is still going on and to promote adherence to COVID-appropriate conduct ahead of festival season.
The Union Health minister issued the standard operating procedure for the festival season in the country on Thursday. Rajesh Bhushan, union health secretary added, “We have issued detailed SOP for States/ UTs on Tuesday. Mass gatherings should be avoided in areas identified as Containment Zones and in districts reporting more than 5% case positivity. Gatherings with advance permissions and limited people (as per local context) to be allowed in districts with a positivity rate of 5% and below. Relaxations and restrictions should be imposed based on weekly case positivity."
Bhushan in a letter to the Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and Health Secretaries of the states said, in our country, covid-19 is still a serious and ongoing public health issue. While the number of daily cases and deaths in the country is steadily decreasing, Covid-19's second spike is still ongoing. The increase in instances has been observed in some nations throughout the world. This increase in instances has highlighted the necessity of implementing Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) alongside immunisation initiatives.
“Amidst the rise in new cases of Covid-19 across the globe and even with the consistent decline in India's second surge, India has 3.09 lakh active cases and is still reporting daily cases as high as 30,000. Hence, there is a need for a continued focus on prompt and effective containment measures as well as Acceleration in the Pace and Coverage of Covid Vaccination to prevent any potential rise in the number of cases," said Bhushan, while adding this is a key time since there may be a propensity to neglect COVID-safe conduct during festivals, resulting in huge crowds, events, and fairs, among other things.
Restrictions and relaxations will be imposed and monitored based on weekly case positivity or a high bed occupancy (Oxygen and ICU beds), and restrictions will be imposed without delay and for a minimum of 14 days, as per the central government, in addition to a continued focus on the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour.
The central government has also asked the states to keep a close eye on case trajectories across all districts daily to spot any early warning signs and to ensure the imposition of restrictions and adherence to COVID Appropriate Behavior as a non-pharmaceutical intervention to stop the spread of infection.
According to data from the union health ministry, 31,923 cases were registered in the past 24 hours. Kerala accounted for at least 62.73% of the cases recorded last week. For the 12th week in a row, weekly positivity has been less than 3%. In India, 33 districts have shown weekly positivity of more than 10%, while a weekly Positivity of 5 to 10% is reported in 23 districts across India.
“We may be witnessing a decline, but we need to continue to follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour," said Bhushan. At the moment, there are 3,01,640 active cases. Active cases account for 0.90 percent of all Positive Cases in the country. According to data from the union health ministry, this is the lowest number of active cases in India since March 2020. India has done a total of 55.83 crores of Covid-19 tests thus far.
Supratik Mitra is a student of political science at the University of Delhi.
While completing college, he continues to work as a reporter, working with many
media houses previously. He is interested in Indian politics and Science and
Technology and is also an avid policy researcher. He reports and writes articles
on national news, science and tech news, and health news.
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