New Delhi: In order to minimise the likely increase in COVID-19 cases during the upcoming festival season, the Centre on Tuesday recommended all the State and Union Territories (UTs) for implementation of the five-fold strategy of testing, tracking, treating, immunisation, and adhering to COVID-appropriate behaviour.
The recommendation comes at a time the number of new coronavirus infections has recently increased, despite the fact that the COVID-19 case trajectory has decreased from the levels reported at the start of the year. Moreover, given the number of festivals and yatras coming up in the next few days, which involves mass gatherings and people making inter and intra-state journeys, the possibility of a spike in COVID-19 cases increases.
Accordingly, the Union Ministry, in a letter to states & UTs said that there is a need to follow the five-fold strategy of testing, tracking, treating, vaccinating & following COVID appropriate behaviour. Hence, in order to avoid any major upsurge in cases, the state government, and UTs should address specific tasks on priority, the Ministry wrote in its letter.
In its letter to states and UTs, the Centre urged authorities should make sure the people participating in such yatras and gatherings are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If need be a special drive of precaution dose and primary vaccination should be conducted at least a fortnight in advance before they plan to join. Further, the Centre has asked for adequate publicity and arrangements for vaccination to be done across locations.
Voluntary workers, healthcare workers, and frontline staff volunteering during such events should be asymptomatic and fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Additional precautions have been advised for senior citizens, especially those with co-morbidities while planning to participate in such events. Such persons should consult their treating doctor and continue with the medications during the period of the gathering or the yatra, while closely monitoring their health.
State governments have also been asked to set up medical facilities at major locations of congregation during religious yatras. They should also coordinate with social organisations to make sure the necessary facilities are delivered to the people.
According to official data, on June 24, India registered 17,336 fresh coronavirus cases, the highest surge in fresh infections since February 19, when India had reported 19,969 cases in a single day. Delhi also saw a jump of 70% in the number of containment zones – from 190 on June 17 to 322 on June 24.