Centre Extends COVID-19 Guidelines Till August 31

The Union Home Ministry has extended the validity of Covid-19 guidelines till August 31 and has asked states to ensure “strictest possible measures” in districts that have a high positivity rate.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written a letter to all states and UTs saying there is “no room for complacency” in observing Covid-19 protocol despite the declining number of Covid-19 cases.

The letter also directs states/UTs to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour in all crowded places, especially in view of upcoming festivals.

The letter of Ajay Bhalla to the Chief Secretaries of states reads as, “With the decline in the number of active cases, states and UTs are reopening 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 no room for complacency, and the process of relaxing restrictions should be carefully calibrated.

Cautioning states about the resurgence of Covid-19 cases, the letter says the reproduction number of the virus, commonly known as the ‘R’ factor, is hovering just below 1 but is high in some states.

“All efforts should be made to ensure that there is no increase in the ‘R’ factor. Further, strictest possible measures should be taken in the districts that are still showing high positivity rates,” it said.

“In view of the upcoming festivals, there is need to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour in all crowded places. There should be continuous focus on the five-fold strategy for effective management of Covid-19 i.e. Test-Track-Treat Vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour,” the home secretary said.

He added that strict directions should be issued to the district and all other local authorities concerned, to take necessary measures for the management of Covid-19.

“The officers concerned should be made personally responsible for any laxity in strict enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour.”

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