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‘Ease Covid Curbs,’ Centre Asks States As Cases Drop Across The Country

As new Covid cases decline across the country, the centre has asked states and UTs to review, change or drop COVID-19 restrictions after considering the trend of new cases and positivity rate in their regions

‘Ease Covid Curbs,’ Centre Asks States As Cases Drop Across The Country
Highlights
  • Remove restrictions on inter-state travel: Centre to States
  • States must continue to monitor the covid situation: Union Health Secretary
  • Follow test- track-treat-vaccinate & Covid apt behaviour: Centre to States

New Delhi: As new coronavirus cases have been plummeting over the past few days across the country, the centre has asked states and union territories to review, change or drop COVID-19 restrictions after considering the trend of new cases and positivity rate in their regions. In a letter written to Chief Secretaries and Chief Administrators of all states and union territories on Wednesday (February 16), Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said that the coronavirus pandemic in India is showing a sustained declining trend since January 21.

Also Read: Vaccine Protection Better Maintained Against Severe COVID-19: Lancet Study

Previously, as the cases kept rising, some states had imposed additional restrictions at their borders and airports limiting the interstate movement. However, now Mr Bhushan has asked the state government to consider doing away with these additional restrictions to allow free movement of people across the state borders.

Mr Bhushan highlighted that with the changing epidemiology of the pandemic globally and in India, existing guidelines aimed at minimising the transmission and circulation of the virus have been reviewed and updated.

While effectively managing the public health challenge of COVID-19, it is equally important that movement of people and economic activities should not be hampered by additional restrictions imposed at state-level points of entry, Mr Bhushan said in the letter.

Considering the declines in cases and the need for reviving the economic activities, last week the Union Ministry of Health also revised its guidelines for international arrivals.

Mr Bhushan underlined that states and union territories must also continue monitoring the trajectory of cases and spread of infection daily. They may also follow the broad five-fold strategy of Test Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, he said.

I’m sure that under your continued leadership the state and UT will continue to address the challenge of COVID-19 while minimizing its impact on the lives and livelihood of the people, Mr Bhushan said in the letter.

On Tuesday (February 15), Assam became the first state in the country to withdraw all Covid-related curbs and restrictions. The decision was announced by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on February 7.

Following the Centre’s orders and in a bid to restore normalcy and aid the resurgence of economic activities in Haryana, CM Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday revoked all COVID-19 related curbs placed in anticipation of the Omicron variant-led third wave of COVID-19. While withdrawing all the COVID curbs in place, the government has maintained that the COVID-19 precautionary protocols have to be followed.

The Uttarakhand government also amended the restrictions placed in the state on Wednesday and lifted night curfew after over one-and-a-half months. According to the revised Covid standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the state, the night curfew imposed in the state on December 27 to rein in a spike in pandemic cases has been lifted, and gyms, shopping malls, cinema halls, spas, salons, theatres, auditoriums and meeting halls allowed to open with full capacity. However, swimming pools and water parks will remain closed till February 28. The ban on political rallies and dharnas will also continue till February 28, the SOP said. Hotels, restaurants and dhabas can also open for dining at their full capacity but will have to strictly follow Covid norms.

The Daily Positivity Rate Dips To 3.63 Per Cent: Centre

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the average daily number of cases during last week were 50,476, while in the last 24 hours over 27,000 new cases were reported. The daily case positivity rate declined to 3.63 per cent on Wednesday, Mr Bhushan highlighted in the letter.

Also Read: 1 In 3 Elderly Develop New Conditions After Covid: Study

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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