States told to keep strict vigil to stop spread of Covid during festivals

India adds 31,923 new Covid-19 infections in last 24 hours; active cases lowest in 187 days.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to the Chief Secretaries and Administrators of all the States and Union Territories advising them to keep a strict vigil to curb the spread of Covid-19 amid the festive season.

“Covid-19 still remains a grave and continuing public health challenge in our country. While the country is witnessing a sustained decline in the number of daily cases as well as daily deaths, but the second surge of Covid-19 is still not over. Globally also, the surge in cases is being reported across multiple countries. This surge in cases has reinforced the importance of implementation of Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) in addition to vaccination efforts,” read the letter.

It further adds, “In the coming months, various festivities will follow one after the other till December 31 2021. This is a critical period as there may be a tendency to ignore Covid-safe behaviour during festivals, resulting in large gatherings, events, fairs etc. It is critical to enforce adherence to guidelines to allow festivities in a cautious, safe and covid appropriate manner. Any laxity in implementation of Covid-appropriate behaviour could lead to serious consequences and can result in a surge in cases.”

The letter further instructs the concerned authorities to keep mass gatherings restricted to a limited number of people and allow them in districts not classified as ‘containment zones’ or areas reporting daily positivity rate of 5 per cent or below. Restrictions can be imposed and monitored on basis of weekly positivity rate and bed occupancy for a minimum of 14 days.

Authorities have also been instructed to follow the five-fold strategy of ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour’.

India reported 31,923 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday. Out of these, Kerala reported 19,675 new infections on Wednesday. India’s cumulative tally has reached 3,35,63,421, and the number of active cases has declined to 3,01,604, which is the lowest in 187 days. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.09 per cent.

It has been less than 3 per cent for the 24th consecutive day, the ministry said, adding that the weekly positivity rate has also declined to 2.11 per cent, which is less than 3 per cent for the last 90 days.

According to the health ministry, 3,28,15,731 people have recovered from the disease so far, out of which 31,990 recoveries were reported in the last 24 hours. The country also reported the highest ever recoveries since March 2020 and it currently stood at 97.77 per cent.