As states across India begin to ‘unlock’ in the aftermath of the second wave of COVID-19 infections, the Union Home Ministry has cautioned all governments to carefully calibrate the process of relaxing the pandemic related restrictions. Home secretary Ajay Bhalla on Tuesday wrote a letter to all states and union territories in this regard.
In its advisory, the ministry wants the states to follow a five-fold strategy comprising of ‘test-track-treat-vaccination and COVID appropriate behaviour.’ The letter notes that while active cases in the country are declining, restrictions must be loosened carefully in accordance with the advisory issued by the health ministry(MoHFW).
Further, the states and UTs must monitor indicators like case positivity, bed occupancy and active cases per million population for every district. If an increase is observed in either of these indicators, steps must be taken for containment of the virus and up-gradation of the healthcare infrastructure, the advisory added.
The ministry has also recommended imposing restrictions in districts with higher bed occupancy and positivity rates. The states have been asked to regularly monitor the situation in districts with a high number of active cases per million population. This would help them “to predict the need for upgrading health infrastructure and logistics,” the letter read.
The Home Secretary underlined the importance of COVID-appropriate behaviour among the people and said that following the same is important to prevent a rise in cases. “COVID appropriate behaviour includes mandatory use of masks, hand hygiene, following physical/social distancing and proper ventilation of closed spaces,” he explained.