COVID-19: Country passing through critical stage; regulate crowds during upcoming festivals: Union Home Secretary

Writes to states, UTs to enforce Covid SoPs in spirit at all public places/gatherings

Srinagar: Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Friday asked state governments and union territory administrations that India is passing through a critical juncture as number of cases and deaths are on rise in many states and in this regard take necessary steps to regulate crowd during upcoming festivals like Holi, Easter and Eid-ul-Fitr

Bhalla in a letter to states and union territories passed  necessary instructions to district administrations and police to scrupulously enforce Covid-19-appropriate behavior and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in all public gatherings during the festivals.

“As you are aware, the country is passing through a critical juncture, as number of COVID-19 cases and deaths have been on the rise in many States and UTs in the recent past. After assessing the situation, guidelines for effective control of COVID-19 have been issued by MHA on 23.03.2021 wherein it has been emphasized that States/UTS should strictly enforce test-track-treat protocol, COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and prescribed SOPs on various activities, such as opening of schools, higher education institutions, hotels and restaurants, shopping malls, multiplexes, entertainment parks, gymnasium, exhibitions etc. Further, States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions at district/sub-district and cities/ward level,” reads the letter.

It further states, “in view of the upcoming festivals such as Holi, Shab-e-Barat, harvesting festivals, Easter, Eid-ul-Fitr, etc., Governments/UT Administrations should take State necessary measures to regulate crowds during these festivals by ensuring strict observance of COVID appropriate behavior, such as wearing of mask and maintaining social distancing, as mandated in aforesaid guidelines and in the National Directives for COVID-19 Management. In this regard, a D.O. letter has also been issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on 24.03.202.”

The letter reads that, “I would urge you to issue necessary instructions to the district administrations and police authorities to scrupulously enforce COVID appropriate behavior and SoPs in all public gatherings during the upcoming festivals. Further, IEC campaign should also be intensified for creating public awareness.

As has been emphasized time and again by the health experts, strict adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour in public places and gatherings will help in breaking the chain of transmission and reduce the incidence of COVID cases in the country.” (KNO)

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