New Delhi: Sounding a note of caution, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Saturday asked eight states having tourist destinations and hill stations to follow strict Covid appropriate behaviour to avoid spread of the virus.
Emphasising that “second wave of Covid-19 is not yet over”, Bhalla, while chairing a meeting here, directed the states to ensure strict adherence to the protocols prescribed in respect of wearing of masks, social distancing and other safe behaviour.
He was checking the steps taken by state governments to avoid the spread of Covid-19 in hill stations and tourist locations.
During the meeting, the overall management of Covid-19 situation and the vaccination status in respect of the states of Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal was discussed.
The Home Secretary sounded a note of caution in view of media reports showing blatant disregard of Covid appropriate behaviour in hill stations and other tourist locations.
It was observed that the decline of the second wave is at variable stages in the different states or Union Territories (UTs) in the country, and that while the overall case positivity rate may be declining, the case positivity rate in certain districts of Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh is over 10 per cent, which is a cause for concern.
States were also asked to follow the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and Covid appropriate behaviour, as has been laid out in Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order dated June 29 this year, said the Home Ministry.
Adequate health infrastructure preparedness (especially in rural, peri-urban and tribal areas) was also advised, with a view to tackle any potential future surge in cases.
The meeting was attended by Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog; Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Director General, Indian Council for Medical Research; and Chief Secretaries, Directors General of Police and Principal Secretaries (Health) of the eight States.
Three days ago, Bhalla held similar meeting and directed all northeastern states to ensure strict containment measures as per extant guidelines while noting that out of 73 districts in the country with Case Positivity Rate (CPR) above 10 per cent, 46 are in these states.