The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday extended the guidelines related to COVID-19 containment measures till August 31 and has asked States and Union Territories (UTs) to ensure "strictest possible measures" in districts that have a high positivity rate.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, in a letter to Chief Secretaries of all States, said the decline in the number of COVID-19 cases is a matter of satisfaction. However, there is no room for complacency as the absolute case numbers are still significantly high.
"With the decline in the number of active cases, States and UTS are re-opening the activities in a gradual manner. While the decline in the number of cases is a matter of satisfaction, it may be noted that the absolute case numbers are still significantly high. Therefore, there is no room for complacency and the process of relaxing restrictions should be carefully calibrated, as has been reiterated in my earlier communications," the letter read.
The Union Home Secretary noted that the R-factor (reproduction number) is hovering just below 'one' but is high in some of states. He said that efforts should be made to ensure that there is no increase in the factor further. "Strictest possible measures should be taken in the districts that are still showing high positivity rates," he added.
Bhalla further said there is need to ensure COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) in all crowded places in view of the upcoming festivals. "There should be continuous focus on the five-fold strategy for effective management of COVID-19 ie. Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour," he said.
"I would, therefore, urge you to issue strict directions to the district and all other local authorities concerned, to take necessary measures for management of COVID-19. The officers concerned should be made personally responsible for any laxity in strict enforcement of COVID Appropriate Behaviour. I would also advise that Orders issued by the respective State Governments/UT Administrations/district authorities in this regard, should be widely disseminated to the public and to the field functionaries, for their proper implementation," he added.
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