The Central government on Saturday urged the states and Union Territories to ensure adherence to COVID-19 norms by the public as the unlocking process began in most parts of the countries.
In a letter to chief secretaries of all states and UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said there should be no complacency in adhering to COVID appropriate behaviour and all administrations should adopt the test-track-treat and vaccinate strategy.
Here is what the Union Home Secretary wrote to states/UTs:
- 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 the decline in cases is essential, the states and UTs must ensure that the whole process is carefully calibrated.
- While opening up, it would be extremely important to follow the fivefold strategy of COVID-appropriate behavior, test-track-treat and vaccination. Regular monitoring of COVID appropriate behaviour is required to prevent relapse.
- To reiterate, COVID appropriate behaviour includes use of masks, hand hygiene, social distancing and also proper ventilation of closed spaces. However, easing of restriction in some states has led to the resumption of crowding of people in markets, etc without adherence to the norms of COVID appropriate behaviour.
- It is, therefore essential to ensure that complacency does not set in and there is no let-up ini adhering to COVID norms while opening up activities.
- To contain the spread of infection on a sustainable basis, 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, 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 whatever cases rise in a smaller place, it gets checked there itself, through local containment measures as per the existing guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry.
- Vaccination against COVID-19 is critical to break the chain of transmission. Therefore, all states and UTs should step up the pace to cover the maximum number of people in an expeditious manner.
- I, therefore, urge you to issue directions to district and all other authorities concerned to keep a close watch on the situation while activites 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-vaccinate strategy.
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