The state government in Sikkim on Tuesday issued an advisory making it mandatory to wear face masks in public places amid a sudden spurt in Covid-19 cases worldwide and increased concern from the Central government.
The fresh Covid-19 advisory comes as a precautionary measure ahead of the New Year celebrations kicking in with the Sikkim government looking to minimize the risk of a fresh virus outbreak.
Moreover, the guidelines from the government also advised the people to adhere to other measures including maintaining a minimum social distance in public places.
In addition, citizens have also been advised to avoid international travels unless it is absolutely non-negotiable.
Meanwhile, the state government in its advisory appealed to the people to maintain personal hygiene and to consult doctors in the case of any symptoms cropping up.
Additionally, the Sikkim government also called on the people of the state to get themselves fully vaccinated with both the first and second doses, as well as the booster doses.
It may be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on December 22 to assess the COVID-19 situation in the country, preparedness of health infrastructure and emergence of variants and their public health implications and cautioned against complacency.
Advising strict vigil, he said COVID is not over yet and directed officials to strengthen the ongoing surveillance measures, especially at the international airports.
This high-level review meeting was held in the backdrop of spike in COVID-19 cases in some countries.
Apart from preparedness of health infrastructure and logistics, the Prime Minister also assessed the status of the vaccination campaign in the country.
A comprehensive presentation was made regarding the global COVID-19 situation including the rising cases in countries by Secretary, Health and Member, NITI Aayog.
The Prime Minister was briefed that India has been witnessing a steady decline in cases with average daily cases falling to 153 and weekly positivity down to 0.14 per cent in the week ending December 22, 2022.
However, 5.9 lakh daily average cases have been reported globally since the last six weeks.
"PM cautioned against complacency and advised strict vigil. He reiterated that COVID is not over yet and directed officials to strengthen the ongoing surveillance measures, especially at international airports," a PMO release said.
The Prime Minister stressed the need to ensure that the entire COVID infrastructure at all levels is maintained at a high level of preparedness in terms of equipment, processes and human resources.
He advised states to audit COVID-specific facilities to ensure the operational readiness of hospital infrastructure, including oxygen cylinders, PSA plants, ventilators and human resources.
PM Modi directed officials to ramp up testing and also genomic sequencing efforts. States have been asked to share a larger number of samples with the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (lGSLs) for genome sequencing on a daily basis.