The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday extended the Covid-19 guidelines till February 28, and asked the states and Union Territories (UTs) not to lower the guard against the pandemic.
In a letter written to the Chief Secretaries of the states and UTs, Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said that due to the current Covid wave, led by the new variant, Omicron, there has been a steady increase in the number of the cases in the country.
“Though a majority of active cases are recovering fast and a low percentage of cases are in hospitals, it is still a matter of concern that 407 districts in 34 states and UTs are reporting a positivity rate of more than 10 per cent. Therefore, looking at the current trends of Covid virus, there is a need to exercise caution and vigilance,” Bhalla said.
He also said that all the states and UTs must observe all precautions and not let the guard down and as per the directions issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on December 21, 2021, the assessment of the situation should continue to take prompt and appropriate containment measures while the imposition, and lifting of local curbs and restrictions should be dynamic and based on the case positivity and hospitalisation status.
“I would also like to emphasise that there should be continued focus on the five-fold strategy, i.e., Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour,” the letter further read.
The Home Secretary said the state enforcement machinery should strictly enforce the norms of Covid appropriate behaviour such as wearing of face masks and maintaining safe social distancing in all public areas, gatherings, adding the states and UTs should continue to hold regular media briefings to disseminate the right information and to discourage any misinformation.
The Home Secretary also asked the chief secretaries to issue necessary directions to the districts and all other local authorities concerned, to take necessary measures for prompt and effective management of Covid-19, along with the strict compliance with various advisories issued by the MoHFW.