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Centre warns states of 3rd wave, urges strict adherence to covid protocol

Authorities tried to enforce Covid protocol and social distancing in Haridwar’s Har-Ki-Pauri at the ganga ghat as the number of pilgrims increase. (HT Photo) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Authorities tried to enforce Covid protocol and social distancing in Haridwar’s Har-Ki-Pauri at the ganga ghat as the number of pilgrims increase. (HT Photo) (HT_PRINT)

  • Rajesh Bhushan, Union health secretary, in a letter to the states said that violations of covid-19 norms have been observed in various parts of the country, especially in public transport, hill stations, markets etc.

The government on Thursday warned states of an imminent third wave of the covid-19 pandemic if gross violations of covid-19 protocols continued unabated.

In a letter to states, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said violations of covid-19 norms have been observed in various parts of the country, especially by people using public transport, by tourist at hill stations, and local markets across regions. “Such complacency at this juncture has the potential to result in another surge in cases. I would like to reiterate the need for focussed public health measures by states and Union territories (UTs). It is imperative to adhere to the guiding principles of covid-19 containment and management with a special focus on the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccinate, and adherence to covid-appropriate behaviour," said Bhushan.

“Focussed and sustained high levels of testing, relentless contact tracing, comprehensive vaccination and ensuring strict adherence to covid-appropriate behaviour in crowded places and potential super-spreader events are of essence. I, therefore, urge you to take appropriate steps to ensure that we do not lose the invaluable momentum gained in our battle against covid-19," he added.

On Wednesday, home secretary Ajay Bhalla had warned chief secretaries of all states about the blatant violations of covid-appropriate behaviour by people, following the relaxations in lockdown restrictions. Bhalla also urged states to issue strict directions to district and local authorities for regulating crowds to contain the spread of covid-19. He said the concerned officers should be held personally responsible for any laxity in strict enforcement of covid protocols.

On Thursday, the government also asked states to send their expenditure proposals to strengthen their respective healthcare infrastructure to streamline covid-19 response so that the Centre can ensure timely sanction of funds under the 23,123-crore Covid Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package: Phase II.

The health ministry also reviewed the preparations under the package with health secretaries and senior officials of all states and UTs at a virtual meeting, and offered guidance on policies of the ministry on the different aspects of covid management.

Following the decline in the number of active cases, states and UTs have been gradually easing mobility restrictions. Bhalla said the process should be carefully calibrated.

India has vaccinated 394.9 million people as of Thursday. So far, 31 million people have been infected by the virus and 412,000 have died because of covid. In the last 24 hours, 41,806 new cases were reported. The active caseload stood at 432,041 or 1.39% of the total cases.

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