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Increasing footfall at tourist destinations after the easing of mobility restrictions was ‘frightening’ and the gross violation of covid-appropriate behaviour can nullify the gains achieved so far in containing the pandemic, the Union government said on Tuesday.

The health ministry has shot off letters to Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh urging the authorities to ensure social distancing, wearing of masks and respiratory hygiene at places with high density of tourists, such as the hilly regions of Shimla, Mussoorie and Manali.

“The second wave of covid-19 pandemic is ongoing in some parts of the country. As the restrictions are lifting, people are going out and not adhering to covid-19 appropriate behaviour. If this continues, we will see negative outcome in coming months," said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union health ministry.

Rising covid-19 cases in the northeast is also a cause for concern for the government. Agarwal said 73 districts have reported more than 10% positivity rate for the week ended 5 July with a majority of districts from the northeastern states. “The pandemic is declining nationally, but cases are still rising in northeastern states. Daily new cases continue to decline. In the last one week, average daily new cases fell by 13%. But 80% of the new cases in India was reported from 90 districts, indicating the need for focused attention in these areas. The second wave is still existent in a limited way."

The Centre said 18 districts in Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan (10), Manipur (9), Kerala (7), Meghalaya (6), Tripura (4), Sikkim (4), Odisha (3), Nagaland (3), Assam (2), and one each from Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Lakshadweep, Telangana, Maharashtra, Mizoram and Puducherry have a high positivity rate. In Assam, 31 covid-19 deaths and 2,640 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours, with a positivity rate of more than 10%. The positivity rate in Manipur continued to be high at 13.5 % with 432 fresh cases and eight deaths in the last 24 hours, while nine people succumbed to the infection on Monday in Meghalaya and 377 fresh cases.

India reported the lowest daily case count of 34,703 in 111 days on Wednesday, with the active caseload falling to 4,64,357—the lowest in 101 days—constituting 1.52% of the total cases since the outbreak. In the last 24 hours, 554 covid-19 deaths were reported.

India has administered over 360 million covid-19 vaccine doses. Reacting to reports of vaccine shortage in Rajasthan for the last two days, the health ministry clarified that states and Union territories had been informed about the availability of total doses in July, and were advised to plan their covid-19 vaccination sessions accordingly. On 1 July, the Centre said Rajasthan had over 169,000 unutilized doses of vaccines available. Under the nationwide vaccination programme, states received over 889,000 doses of vaccines on 1-6 July.

“Rajasthan will receive an additional 39,51000 doses in July. For the month, it will get 5.09 million vaccine doses. This quantity may increase depending on production and availability of vaccines" the government said.

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