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NEW DELHI : Union Home Ministry on Tuesday announced to extend the nationwide covid-19 containment measures till October 31 considering the localised spreads of coronavirus in few states and covid-19 still continuing to be a public health challenge in the country. 

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories directing them to maintain utmost vigil ahead of the upcoming festivals.  The home secretary cautioned that large scale gatherings in fairs, festivals, religious events and functions may lead to a fresh surge in covid-19 cases in the country. 

 “It is therefore critical to enforce adherence to the covid-19 guidelines which allows regular festivities in a cautious, safe and appropriate manner. The daily covid-19 cases and  overall number of covid-19 patients in the country are declining steadily," said Bhalla in the letter. 

“However, there are still localised spreads of virus in few states and COVID-19 still continues to be a public health challenge in our country," he said. 

The home secretary cautioned that with the decline in the covid-19 cases, there is a possibility that Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) is not adhered to strictly. especially during the upcoming festivals.  In his letter, Bhalla directed the States/UTs concerned, having high positivity in their districts, should take pro-active containment measures so as to effectively arrest the spike in cases and to contain the spread of transmission. It is important to identify warning signs of potential surges early on and to take appropriate measures to curb the spread. 

"The state governments and UT administrations concerned, having high positivity in their districts, should take proactive containment measures so as to effectively arrest the spike in cases and to contain the spread of transmission," he said. 

Bhalla said it is important to identify warning signs of potential surges early on and to take appropriate measures to curb the spread. "This would require a localised approach, as has been mentioned in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare advisory dated September 21, 2021," he said. 

Bhalla also said there should be a continued focus on the five-fold strategy i.e. Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour, to safely navigate through the festive season and avoid the possibility of a surge in covid-19 cases. 

 “The state governments and UT administrations should continue with their vaccination programme with a focus to accelerate vaccination of eligible age groups and prioritisation of the second dose to eligible beneficiaries," he said. 

Bhalla also urged the chief secretaries to issue directions to the district and all other local authorities concerned to take necessary measures as advised in the union health ministry advisory for prompt and effective management of covid-19. 

"I would also advise that orders issued by the respective state governments and UT administrations or district authorities in this regard should be widely disseminated to the public and to the field functionaries for their proper implementation," he said. 

At least 18,795 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours.

India reported daily new cases less than 20,000 after 201 days. At least 18,795 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours. The Active Caseload is presently 2,92,206, which is the lowest in 192 days. Active cases presently constitute 0.87% of the country's total Positive Cases, the government data showed. Weekly Positivity Rate at 1.88% remains less than 3% for the last 95 days now. The Daily Positivity rate reported to be 1.42%. The daily Positivity rate has remained below 3% for last 29 days and below 5% for 112 consecutive days now, the government said. 

The recovery of 26,030 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally of recovered patients (since the beginning of the pandemic) to 3,29,58,002. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 97.81%. Recovery Rate is currently at its highest peak since March 2020. 

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