As many states and Union Territories (UTs) have started relaxing restrictions with a decline in the number of active Covid-19 cases, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), today advised them to ensure the opening process in “carefully calibrated” manner.
The Ministry suggested them to follow the fivefold strategy of Covid appropriate behaviour, test-track-treat and vaccination, while opening up.
Among the directions, issued by Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in a written letter to the states and the UTs, they have been also asked to regularly monitor Covid-appropriate behaviour to “prevent relapse”.
The Home Ministry reiterated Covid-appropriate behaviour that includes mandatory use of masks, hand hygiene, social distancing and also proper ventilation of closed spaces.
The direction comes in the backdrop of information regarding crowding in markets without adherence to norms of Covid-appropriate behaviour in many states soon after the relaxation in restrictions.
“It is, therefore, essential to ensure that complacency does not set in, and there is no let-up in adhering to Covid-appropriate behaviour, while opening up activities,” mentions the letter.
To contain the spread of infection on sustainable basis, the letter further advises, it is necessary to continue the strategy of test-track-treat. “It may especially be ensured that the testing rate does not come down.”
As the situation is dynamic, it said, a close watch needs to be kept on early signs of a surge in active cases or high positivity rates.
“A system should be in place at the micro-level to ensure that whenever cases rise in a smaller place, it gets checked there itself, through local containment measures as per the existing guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.”
The Home Secretary also stressed in the letter over vaccination process, saying “vaccination against Covid-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission”.
“Therefore, all states and the UT governments should step up the pace of vaccination, to cover the maximum number of people in an expeditious manner,” Bhalla directed.
The Home secretary asked the states and the UTs to issue directions to district and all other authorities concerned to keep a close watch on the situation, while activities are opened in a cautious manner and to scrupulously ensure that there is no complacency in adhering to Covid appropriate behaviour and in the test-track-treat vaccination strategy.