The Union government on Tuesday extended the COVID-19 containment measures across the country till October 31, 2021 in view of some localised spreads of pandemic in a few states. In a communication with the Chief Secretaries and Administrators of the Union Territories (UTs), Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said that considering the need to prevent any potential rise in number of cases in view of the upcoming festive season in the country, on the direction of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), an order was issued.
The order directs state and Union Territory governments and authorities to consider implementation of prompt and effective containment measures, as conveyed in an advisory by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, dated September 21, 2021, until October 31. "The States/UTs, will take the necessary measures, under the relevant provisions of the Disaster Management Act," the Home Ministry communication reads.
The communication also said that the 'National Directives' for COVID-19 management, shall continue to be strictly followed throughout the country and all the District Magistrates shall strictly enforce the above measures. Noting that the daily COVID-19 cases and overall number of patients in the country has been declining steadily, Bhalla further said that there are still localised spreads of virus in few States and the pandemic continues to be a public health challenge for the country.
He also asked the head of the state administration to closely monitor case positivity, hospital and availability of ICU bed occupancy of every district and in case of having high positivity in their districts; they should also take proactive containment measures so as to effectively arrest the spike in cases and to contain the spread of transmission.
The Home Secretary also reminded the states and UT governments to focus on the five-fold strategy of 'Test, Track, Treat, Vaccination and adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour', to safely navigate through the festive season to avoid the possibility of surge in COVID-19 cases along with the continuous efforts for the vaccination drive in their jurisdictions.