Govt to launch campaign for Covid-19-appropriate behaviour as cases spike
The central government is set to launch a “low-cost people’s campaign (jan andolan)” to promote Covid-19-appropriate behaviour, involving ministries, states and even celebrities, as the country records its steepest spike in cases since September, 2020.
“As you are aware, the number of cases of Covid-19 in the country is witnessing an alarming upward trend,” information and broadcasting secretary Amit Khare wrote in a letter to all central government secretaries on Tuesday. “The Hon’ble Prime Minister convened a high-level meeting on April 4,2021 to review the emerging situation, following which the government has decided to focus on the five-fold strategy to deal with the emerging crisis viz., testing, tracing, treatment, Covid-19-appropriate behaviour and vaccination.”
As part of the campaign, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Tuesday also advised all central government employees over 45 to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
“All central government employees of the age of 45 years and above are advised to get themselves vaccinated, so as to effectively contain the spread of Covid-19,” DoPT said in an office memorandum.
The country is grappling with a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases, with the largest rise of over 100,000 cases in one day recorded this week, the single-largest daily case count since September. Partial lockdowns have been imposed in several parts of the country, with Maharashtra, Punjab and Kerala being among the worst affected states. Delhi on Tuesday also imposed a night curfew to reduce the risk of transmission. Several stakeholders have appealed to the government to open the vaccination drive to persons of all ages, to better fight the second wave of the pandemic.
The campaign will be carried out in several regional languages. The government will also run a hashtag, #Unite2FightCorona, on social media, and Indian Premier League commentary will include Covid-19 safety messages. The agriculture ministry will work on interpersonal communication through farmer organisations and associations, while railways is set to include the messages on train tickets. The ministry of electronics and information technology will embed messages on all government websites. The ministry of home affairs will look at publicity for fines levied for Covid-19 violations.
The government has also suggested to the states that they set up digital screens at public places/markets showing photographs and videos of people taking the vaccine. Celebrities such as actors, cricketers, other sportspersons and leading industrialists and businessperson may also be part of the campaign.