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'Ensure Covid-19 norms, don't grow complacent': Centre to states as cases drop

The warning from the Union home ministry comes as several states are relaxing their Covid-19 curbs in view of a declining trend in daily new cases.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Joydeep Bose
PUBLISHED ON JUN 19, 2021 11:50 AM IST
A gathering of people throng Chandni Chowk market that reopened after the Delhi government eased some restrictions in the ongoing Covid-19 induced lockdown in the national capital, on Thursday. (PTI)

The Centre on Saturday warned all states and Union territories to not grow complacent in ensuring appropriate coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-related protocols and asked the respective administrations to monitor signs of a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla wrote to the chief secretaries of all states and Union territories, asking officials to ensure that there is no complacency in adhering to Covid-19-appropriate behaviour and in the test-track-treat strategy. The warning from the Union home ministry comes as several states are relaxing their Covid-19 curbs in view of a declining trend in the daily new cases.

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"With the decline in the number of active cases, many states and UTs have started relaxing restrictions. I would like to highlight that the decision to impose or ease the restriction has to be taken, based on the assessment of the situation at ground level. While the opening up of activities, after a decline in cases is essential, the states and UTs must ensure that the whole process is carefully calibrated," the letter, issued by the Union home secretary, noted.

The fivefold strategy of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour includes the mandatory use of masks, hand hygiene, social distancing, and also proper ventilation of closed spaces. Regular monitoring of these protocols is required to prevent a relapse of the Covid-19 situation in the country, the home ministry added.

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"However, the easing of restrictions in some states have led to the resumption of crowding of people in markets etc. without adherence to the norms of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. It is, therefore essential to ensure that complacency does not set in, and there is no let-up in adhering to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour while opening up activities," the letter highlighted.

The Union home secretary also asked states to keep a close watch on early signs of a surge in active and high positivity rates, as well as continue the strategy of 'test-track-treat'.

"A system should be in place at the micro-level to ensure that whenever cases rise in a smaller place, it gets checked there itself, through local containment measures as per the existing guidelines issued by the ministry of health and family welfare," the Centre said.

Highlighting the need for Covid-19 vaccination, the Union home secretary said that a successful immunisation drive is essential to break the chain of virus transmission. "Therefore, all states and UT governments should step up the pace of vaccination, to cover the maximum number of people in an expeditious manner," the letter read.

The Centre asked state administration officials to issue appropriate directions to the districts and all other concerned authorities to ensure that the orders are followed through and that the country can gradually relax its Covid-19 restrictions in a safe and cautious manner.

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