Many states bring back mask mandate, push for Covid booster vaccines
Meetings were held in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
Chief ministers and health ministers of several states on Thursday reviewed preparations and protocols for Covid-19, with many deciding to make it mandatory for people to wear masks in crowded places, step up genome sequencing and nudge people who are yet to take their third doses to come forward.
Meetings were held in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Officials and ministers in many of these states advised alert, but added that there was no reason to panic.
In UP, the CM Yogi Adityanath asked officials to step up testing and genome sequencing and to ensure that people wear masks at crowded places. “Officials of medical education and medical health department has been asked to increase surveillance at airports and identify passengers with symptoms such as cold and flu. They have been asked to take samples of suspected patients and ask the patients to remain in home isolation,” said deputy chief minister and health minister Brajesh Pathak.
In Agra, the district health officer was quoted by news agency ANI as saying that people will not be allowed at the Taj Mahal without testing.
In Karnataka, health minister K Sudhakar said an advisory will be issued making masks mandatory “in indoor areas, closed spaces and in areas with air-conditioning.” Random testing and screening passengers arriving at international airports will also be done,” the minister said, following a meeting with the CM.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee directed the state administration on Wednesday to step up surveillance, especially ahead of the Ganga Sagar mela in January, 2023, while in Kerala, health minister Veena George said a stock-taking was done and there was no need for panic.
Tamil Nadu’s chief minister MK Stalin led a consultative meeting on Thursday and directed officials to carry out genome sequencing of all positive samples. The state also asked the Union government to issue guidelines for mandatory testing of international passengers arriving from China and Hong Kong.
In Jharkhand, where no active cases are recorded, the health minister said there was no reason for concern but the administration was heeding to the Centre’s suggestions to be alert.