The last few days have particularly been troubling for reviving the concerns over possible restrictions and return of another national-level lockdown.
However, there is not likely to be another lockdown, the government has made it clear as the focus is now on 'test-track-treat' protocol, not shutting down establishments.
In a major development on Tuesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has released a fresh set of guidelines for the month of April, asking states to enhance the proportion of RT-PCR tests, strictly enforce the 'test-track-treat' protocol and speed up the pace of Covid-19 vaccination to cover all priority groups.
The fresh guidelines issued by the MHA will be effective from 1 April till 30 April.
The main focus of the new protocols is to consolidate the substantial gains achieved in containing the spread of the virus, which was visible in the sustained decline in the number of active cases, continuously for about five months, the government said.
The MHA has also permitted all activities outside the Covid-19 containment zones. These include movement by passenger trains; air travel; metro trains; schools; higher educational institutions; hotels and restaurants; shopping malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks; yoga centres and gymnasiums; exhibitions, assemblies and congregations, and more.
It also stressed that in order to ensure that the resumption of activities is successful and to fully overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a need to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy, and strictly observe the guidelines issued by MHA and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and other ministries and departments of the central government and state and governments.
'Lockdown can be an option'
However, lockdown can be an option at district/sub-district and city/ward level, with a view to curb the spread of the deadly virus, based on the assessment of the situation, the government has said.
On being questioned about what the Central Government is thinking on lockdown given the sudden spike in cases, Union minister Prakash Javadekar has said, "Centre is in constant touch with the states which are reporting a surge in Covid-19 infections. We are hopeful that the situation will improve in the coming days."
The first wave of the pandemic peaked in India in September last year, when the active caseload crossed a million-mark. It continued to decline for about months touching a low of about 11,000 on 11 February, 2021.
What is more worrying is that the Covid-19 cases started rising in late February and continued on a worse trajectory thereafter.
The government has decided to vaccinate everybody above 45 years of age from 1 April. Announcing this, Javadekar said, "We request that all eligible should immediately register and get vaccinated."
Meanwhile, India today recorded 47,262 fresh Covid-19 cases and 275 deaths in a span of 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said. Here's a breakup of the Covid numbers in India: