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Consider local curbs on upcoming festivals and mass gatherings: Union Health Secy to Kunte

The letter by Bhushan said that some districts in Maharashtra are showing early signs of upsurge.

Written by Yogesh Naik | Mumbai |
August 28, 2021 12:19:44 am
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written a note to state Chief Secretary S J Kunte advising the state to consider imposing and enforcing local restrictions on public observation of upcoming festivals and mass gatherings, in view of concerns that such gatherings may turn into super-spreader events of COVID-19 infection.

The letter by Bhushan said that some districts in Maharashtra are showing early signs of upsurge. The said that mass events and public gatherings are expected during Dahi Handi and Ganesh festivals and the state may consider imposing and enforcing local restrictions.

The letter said that concerns of Indian Council of Medical Research and National Centre for Disease Control — regarding the potential of mass gatherings during festivals turning into super spreader events and leading to a spike in Covid cases — was communicated to the states in July. This is particularly important in view of circulation of more transmissible variants of concern being reported by various states including Maharashtra.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Kunte said, “We will follow the guidelines of the Health Ministry as well as our experts.”

Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Friday said that it is estimated that oxygen demand will go up to 4000 metric tonnes per day in the third wave and the state can produce up to 2000 metric tonnes, hence the state will go in auto lockdown mode after daily need of oxygen crosses 700 metric tonnes per day.

Kerala has already recorded 31000 fresh Covid cases in a day after Onam. Tope said he had spoken to the Kerala Health Minister for nearly 30 minutes and the state government feels that Onam crowds were solely responsible for the surge. Tope said that there are 4 to 5 festivals in the state including Ganesh festival, Govinda, Bail Pola which can lead to spread of COvid.

Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal said, “We have put curbs on Ganesh festival and Govinda celebrations too. We have issued directives. It is obvious that the state is open and 12 crore people are out on the roads, a marginal increase is expected. We have 1100 parks and gardens in Mumbai and all are suddenly open and people are coming out. We are closely monitoring the situation. In Mumbai, 74 per cent of the eligible population has got one dose of the vaccine and 26 per cent has got double dose.”

On Friday, Mumbai recorded 364 new cases and 214 persons were cured. There were five deaths.

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