Centre Warn States, UTs Against Lowering of Covid Norms

Picture Courtesy: Deccan Herald

The Central Government has warned states and Union Territories not to become “complacent” about the decline in COVID-19 infections.

The central government joined experts and courts and urged the country to ensure that protocols are followed.

The government further asked people to monitor signs of a potential spike in cases as they lift lockdown restrictions across regions.

He noted that the easing of lockdown norms — which were necessitated in April-May by the devastating second wave of infections — has led to crowding in markets and other public places. It is “extremely important” to follow the five-fold strategy that includes observing Covid-appropriate behaviour, the test-track-treat approach and boosting vaccinations, the senior official said.

The mentioned letter of caution came a day after the Delhi high court took note of crowding, and violations in Covid-19 protocols in markets and public spaces across the Capital, and sounded a warning that the city will be in “great trouble” in the context of an anticipated third wave of the pandemic. The court also told the Centre and the Delhi government to take strict measures, sensitise shopkeepers, and hold meetings with markets and vendors’ associations in this regard.

In recent days, as lockdown norms are withdrawn, images from across metropolises in recent days have shown large crowds gathering in markets and streets, with hundreds of people seen with virtually no social distancing and often with poor mask compliance.

In Delhi, markets have been open for over two weeks, at first in a 50% arrangement before the government eased all curbs from June 14. In Mumbai, too, all shops and markets, and gymnasiums are open since June 7. Similarly, curbs have been relaxed in other cities including Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru. On Saturday, Telangana ordered lifting of all restrictions “to full extent”.

Experts have also cautioned that a race to resume business activities can compromise containment efforts and trigger a third wave of the pandemic if the pace of the vaccination drive doesn’t pick up.

Home Secretary, Bhalla pointed out on Saturday that inoculations are critical to break the chain of transmission of the viral illness and all states/UTs should try to cover the most number of people under the vaccination drive.

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