Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Friday wrote a letter to Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte and appreciated the state government's efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases. He also advised the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to consider imposing restrictions ahead of the upcoming festivals such as Dahi Handi and Ganesh Utsav.
"At the outset, I must appreciate the efforts of the State to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases. Even though the trajectory of daily new cases has shown a decline over the last month, there are some districts in Maharashtra which are showing early signs of upsurge in COVID-19 cases and test positivity," Bhushan wrote.
"In view of mass events and public gathering expected during celebration of upcoming festivals (including Dahi Handi and Ganesh Utsav) in Maharashtra, it is advised that the State may consider imposing and enforcing local restrictions in public observation of these festivals and mass gatherings," he added.
The Union Health Secretary further reiterated to follow the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and Ensuring COVID Appropriate Behaviour. "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 CDVID-19 pandemic," he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope warned about the possibility of a third COVID-19 wave that could strike the state in coming months and informed that the state has issued a circular to collectors and local authorities saying the vaccination of teaching and non-teaching staff must be completed till September 5.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Tope said, "We have issued a circular to collectors and local authorities that till 5th September the vaccination for teaching and non-teaching staff must be completed, if needed organise a vaccination drive too. There is the possibility of a third wave of incoming festivals months so we are also discussing avoiding local bodies' elections and we are on alert mode on this too"
He said that owing to the upcoming festivals such as Ganesh Utsav, Navratri, Dussehra, and Diwali, a surge in infection could be seen.
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