IMAGE: PTI/ PIXABAY
Considering the upcoming festivals, the Centre has now urged states to take necessary actions to curb mass gatherings. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a written letter to all states advised against waiving COVID protocols in view of celebrations. The Health Secretary through the letter asked states to actively consider the imposition of local restrictions to curb mass gatherings. Bhushan also reminded that some states continue to reflect signs of an upsurge in their daily cases and positivity rates.
The letter listed out the major festivals coming up and gave a heads up to all states to remain vigilant as a possible COVID third wave continues to loom around the air. The letter read, "At the outset, let me appreciate your continued leadership and guidance to curb the spread of Covid cases in the country during the second wave of COVID-19. Even though the trajectory of daily new cases has shown a steady decline over the last month, there are a few States which still reflect signs of an upsurge in their daily cases and positivity,"
"In this regard, directions issued under Disaster Management Act by MHA vide letter dated June 29, for focussed containment measures may kindly be referred to. In light of this Order, and in view of upcoming festivals, such as Muharram 19th August), Onam (21st August), Janmashtami (30th August), Ganesh Chaturthi (10th Sep.) and Durga Puja (5th - 15th October 2021) etc, where large public gatherings are expected, it is advised that States may actively consider imposition of local restrictions in public observation of these festivals and curb mass gatherings," Bhushan added in the letter.
The letter also mentioned concerns put forth by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) regarding the potential of mass gatherings during such events. It warned that the festivals could turn into super spreader events, and lead to a spike in COVID cases, if not looked at. The same was earlier communicated to the States by a Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare letter dated July 20.
According to the official data released by the Union Health Ministry on Thursday, India reported 42,982 fresh COVID-19 positive cases and 36,668 recoveries in the past 24 hours. Unfortunately, a total of 533 people succumbed to death in the last 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 4,26,290 due to coronavirus infection. The total caseload of India reached 3,18,12,114 in numbers, while the overall number of active cases is 4,11,076. Meanwhile, the daily positivity rate stood at 2.58per cent, and the weekly positivity rate was reported at 2.37per cent.