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Stop mass gatherings: Centre to states, UTs

Directs states and UTs to impose local restrictions in public observance of festivals

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Amid a spike in Covid-19 infections in some parts of the country, the Centre on Wednesday asked states and union territories to consider imposing local restrictions in public observance of the upcoming festivals and limit or do away with mass gatherings for effective control of the pandemic.

Additional Secretary in the Health Ministry Arti Ahuja, in a letter to state chief secretaries and union territory administrators, stated that the battle against Covid is at a critical juncture with rising number of cases and deaths being reported from many parts in the recent past.

“…in view of upcoming festivals such as Holi, Shabe- Barat, Bihu, Easter and Eidul- Fitr, etc., it is strongly advised that states may consider imposing local restrictions in public observance of these festivals and limit/do away with mass gatherings in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” the letter read.

Ahuja asked states to refer to the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 23 for effective control of Covid-19, and also attached the order issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority for reference.

“Any laxity at this point in ensuring strict adherence to various SOPs issued by the Ministry of Health to contain the spread of Covid may result in losing the impetus and benefits that our country has gained so far in managing the virus. Strict adherence to Covidappropriate behaviour in public places and gathering is the key to break the chain of transmission and reduce the incidence of cases in the country,” the letter stated.

Meanwhile, India on Wednesday recorded 47,262 fresh coronavirus cases in a day, the highest single-day rise so far this year, taking the nationwide Covid-19 tally to 1,17,34,058.

The active caseload registered an increased for the 14th day in row and was recorded at 3,68,457, comprising 3.14 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate further dropped to 95.49 per cent, Union Health ministry data updated at 8 a.m. said.

The daily rise in infections was the highest recorded in 132 days, while the country’s death toll increased to 1,60,441, with 275 new fatalities, the highest in around 83 days.

As many as 47,905 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours on November 12 last year, it said.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,12,05,160, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.37 per cent, the data stated. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 23,64,38,861 samples have been tested till March 23, with 10,25,628 samples tested on Tuesday.

Out of the 275 new fatalities, 132 deaths were reported from Maharashtra, 53 from Punjab,20fromChhattisgarh and 10 from Kerala. A total of 1,60,441deaths have been reported so far.

Delhi sees another spike

Delhi today saw a fresh spike in coronavirus infections, recording 1,254 Covid cases ~ highest in more than three months ~ even as 6 more people succumbed to the contagious, deadly virus, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin.This is the highest number of coronavirus cases since 18 December last year when 1,418 people tested positive for the virus, according to official data.