The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today issued orders for extension of Covid-19 containment measures for another month till 28 February, as 407 districts in 34 States and Union Territories still report a positivity rate of more than 10 per cent.
In his order Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the evidence based measures will remain in force at district and local level till the end of the next month.
He said the current Covid wave was led by its new variant Omicron and there were over 22 lakh active cases in the country. In a letter to Chief Secretaries of States and Union Territories, he said the majority of these cases were recovering fast, but there was need for caution and vigilance.
Keeping in view the guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry on 21 December, 2021, the local and district administrations should continue to take prompt and appropriate containment measures, he said.
“Imposition and lifting of local curbs/restrictions should be dynamic and should be based on the case positivity and hospitalization status at the local level,” the Home Secretary said.
There should be continued focus on the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to Covid Appropriate Behaviour, he said. The State machinery should strictly enforce the wearing of masks, and maintaining social distancing at all public gatherings and public areas, the Home Secretary said in his letter.
The top State officials have been told to ensure that local authorities take all measures to enforce the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry in the wake of the outbreak of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
In his letter to State Governments last month, Bhalla had stated that Omicron, described by WHO as a variant of concern, was three times more transmissible than the existing Delta variant, and posed serious challenge to the Covid-19 containment measures.