The Centre on Wednesday, 24 March, advised all States and Union Territories to consider imposing local restrictions in view of upcoming festivals – like Holi, Shab-e-Barat, and Easter – and impose limitations, or do away with mass gatherings.
Health Ministry Additional Secretary Arti Ahuja prefaced a letter addressed to all states and UTs by saying that the “battle against COVID-19 is at a critical juncture, with rising cases and deaths being reported in many states and UTs.”
“Any laxity in ensuring strict adherence to various SOPs issued by the Health Ministry to contain the spread of Covid-19 may result in losing the impetus that our country has gained so far in managing the virus,” the letter read.
Ahuja added that strict adherence of Covid-19 precautions in public places and gatherings is the key to break the chain of transmission and reduce the incidence of cases in the country.
The letter also added an order issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) for reference, which said: “In exercise of powers conferred under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the undersigned, in his capacity as Chairperson, State Executive Committee, DDMA, GNCTD, hereby directs All District Magistrates of Delhi & their counterpart District Deputy Commissioners of Police and all authorities concerned to ensure that public celebrations and gatherings, congregations during upcoming festivals, like Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Navaratri, etc, shall not be allowed in public places / public grounds/ public parks/ markets/ religious places etc in NCT of Delhi.”
COVID cases have seen a steady increase in the last two weeks. On Wednesday, India reported 47,262 COVID cases, which was the highest single-day spike since 11 November 2020.