New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Health on Saturday (October 23, 2021) urged all states and Union Territories to maintain caution ahead of the festive season as the number of novel coronavirus cases rises sharply in China.
In the letter sent to the states, the Union Health Secretary advised caution saying a rapid increase in COVID-19 infections in many countries around the world has been witnessed and the trend suggests that it is because of COVID protocol not being followed dilligently.
The letter urged all States/UTs have been advised to take following precautions in view of upcoming festivities:
a) Strict enforcement of laid down guidelines for allowing festivities in a cautious, safe and COVID appropriate manner.
b) No mass gathering should be allowed in areas identified as containment zones and in districts reporting more than 5% COVID-19 test confirmation rates.
c) Necessary directions should be issued adequately in advance by the concerned State Governments for practicing cautions during the festivities.
d) Gatherings that are allowed with advance permission and limited number of people (as per local context) should be closely monitored and in case of violations of COVID appropriate behavior, necessary enforcement and penal actions should be taken There should be stnct adherence to limits on public gatherings taking into account availability of space to ensure effective physical distancing
e) Guidelines already issued with respect to malls, local markets and places of worship, as made available on MoHFW website dated November 30 2020 and March 1, 2021 should be strictly followed
f) States/UTs need to continue diligent focus on five pillars of COVID-19 management
Despite a dipping COVID-19 graph which is a part of the picture and pointed to factors such as the mortality rate, there is a need for a larger vaccination cover. However, some experts opine that India is unlikely to see a COVID-19 wave like the devastating second wave, but the lower number of cases does not necessarily mean the pandemic is now endemic, the experts have said.
Meanwhile, there were 16,326 new COVID-19 cases, marking 29 straight days of a daily rise of less than 30,000. The death toll climbed to 4,53,708 with 666 fatalities, as per Union Health Ministry data on Saturday.
On the other hand, the total number of coronavirus cases in China climbed to nine on Saturday, while other parts of the country reported 38 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. The latest outbreak was linked to an elderly couple who were in a group of several tourists.
China has cancelled hundreds of flights, closed schools and ramped up mass testing on Thursday to try and stamp out a new COVID-19 outbreak linked to a group of tourists. The Chinese capital are ramping up measures like testing and restricting hotel bookings, according to the National Health Commission.
Till Saturday, China has administered 2.243 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country so far.