Taking note of the fresh surge in coronavirus cases in some parts of the country, the Central government has asked states and Union Territories to strictly enforce the Test-Track-Treat protocol, ensure Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, boost proportion of RT-PCR tests and to scale up the vaccination drive to cover target groups.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)’s Covid-19 Guidelines for April, issued today, emphasised the need “to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy, and strictly observe the guidelines/SOPs issued by MHA and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) and other Ministries/Departments of the Central Government and State/UT Governments.”

The MHA order will be effective from 1 April and remain in force up to 30 April, 2021.

The government has launched the world’s largest vaccination drive against Covid-19, MHA said. While the vaccination drive is proceeding smoothly, the pace is uneven across different States and UTs, which is a cause for concern, it added. Vaccination against Covid- 19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission, the MHA said.

States were told to take all necessary measures to promote Covid-19 appropriate behaviour in work places and in public, especially in crowded places. For strict enforcement of such rules, States and UTs may consider administrative actions.

The guidelines said the states and UTs, where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less, should rapidly increase it, to reach the prescribed level of 70 per cent or more. The new positive cases need to be isolated/ quarantined at the earliest and provided timely treatment; all their contacts should be traced and similarly isolated, the guidelines said.