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'Pandemic Not Yet Over': MHA Warns States as Crowds Gather at Tourist Hubs

The Ministry of Home Affairs urged states to ensure that COVID-appropriate behaviour is followed in public spaces.

Updated
India
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Tourists visit the Mall Road after relaxation in COVID-19 curfew in Manali.</p></div><div class="paragraphs"><p><br></p></div>
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Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Saturday, 10 July, reviewed the COVID-19 situation in tourist locations and hill stations, after photographs of large crowds violating COVID-appropriate behaviour did the rounds online.

The Ministry of Home Affairs stressed that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic was not yet over, and that states should ensure that protocol such as wearing masks and social distancing are strictly followed.

Reviewing the steps taken by state governments to check the spread of COVID-19 at hill stations and tourist hubs, the Home Secretary sounded a note of caution after media reports showed a blatant disregard for COVID-19 norms.

A statement released by the Ministry noted that the decline of the second wave is at variable stages in different states and Union Territories in the country and that while the overall case positivity rate may be declining, the case positivity rate in certain districts of Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, and Himachal Pradesh is over 10 percent, which is a cause for concern.

In the meeting, states were asked to follow the five-fold strategy of 'Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and COVID Appropriate Behaviour'. It also advised states to prepare their health infrastructure adequately, especially in rural, peri-urban, and tribal areas, with a view to tackle any potential surge in cases in the future.

The meeting was attended by Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog; Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Director General, Indian Council for Medical Research; and Chief Secretaries, Directors General of Police and Principal Secretaries (Health) of the eight states.

As per the Union Health Ministry's data, India on Saturday, 10 July, crossed 40,000 new infections for the fourth consecutive day. 42,766 new coronavirus cases were reported on Saturday, taking the tally in the country to 3,07,95,716. The death toll increased by 1,206 to 4,07,145.

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