The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday asked all states and Union Territories to keep a close watch while relaxing restrictions in a cautious manner and ensure that there is no complacency in adhering to COVID-19-appropriate behaviour.
Referring to the visuals of marketplaces on social media where people are seen not adhering to the COVID-19 appropriate behavior including not wearing mask, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written a letter to chief secretaries of the states and administrators of UTs asking them to “sensitise the local administration at district level and other lower administrative units” about the need to keep a close watch on the trend of COVID-19 cases.
“With the decline in the number of active cases, many States and UTs have started relaxing restrictions. I would like to highlight that the decision to impose or ease the restriction has to be taken, based on the assessment of the situation at ground level. While the opening up of activities, after decline in cases, is essential, the states and UTs must ensure that the whole process is carefully calibrated,” the letter read.
Noting that to contain the spread of infection on a sustainable basis, he said, it was necessary to continue the strategy of ‘test-track-treat’ and to ensure that the testing rate does not come down.
“As the situation is dynamic, 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 at that level itself, through local containment measures as per the existing guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,” Mr Bhalla further said.
Noting that vaccination against COVID-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission, the Union Home Secretary said, “Therefore, all State/ UT Governments should step up the pace of vaccination, to cover the maximum number of people in an expeditious manner.”