The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Friday in an advisory to the Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte has asked the state government to consider the imposition and enforcement of local restrictions in public observation of upcoming festivals and mass gatherings in view of concerns that mass gatherings may turn into super spreader events of COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the trajectory of daily new cases has shown a decline over the last month, there are some districts of Maharashtra which are showing early signs of upsurge in COVID 19 cases and test positively. ‘’In view of mass events and public gathering expected during celebration of upcoming festivals including Dahi Handi and Ganpati Utsav in Maharashtra, it is advised the state may consider imposing and enhancing and enforcing local restrictions in public observation of these festivals and gatherings,’’ said Bhushan in his letter.
Bhushan said the concerns of Indian Council of Medical Research and National Center for Disease Control regarding the potential events during festivals turning into super spreader events, thereby leading to spike in COVID-19 cases, was communicated to the states by the ministry’s letter dated July 20, 2021. ‘’This is particularly important in view of circulation of more transmissible variants of concern being reported in various states including Maharashtra,’’ he added.
‘’I would like to reiterate that any laxity in ensuring strict adherence to the five fold strategy of ‘’Test-Track-Test-Vaccinate & ensuring COVID Appropriate Behaviour’’ may result in losing the impetus that Maharashtra and the country has gained so far in managing the pandemic,’’ said Bhushan.
‘’I look forward to your proactive measures, so that we may continue to build on the momentum gained through our collective public health response to COVID 19 pandemic,’’ said Bhushan.
Bhushan’s letter was sent to the state CS when new 4654 cases and 170 deaths were reported on Friday.
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