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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Unlock has led to crowding; ensure five-fold strategy while opening up: Centre to states

The five-fold strategy comprises Covid-appropriate behaviour, test-track-treat, and vaccination to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 19, 2021 6:07:53 pm
'Ensure lockdown opening up is 'carefully calibrated'; no crowding in markets': Centre to statesPeople visit a crowded Chandni Chowk market that reopened after Delhi government eased Covid-induced restrictions, in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Stating that the easing of Covid-related lockdown norms has led to crowding in some markets and other places, the Centre Saturday urged states to ensure the “extremely important” five-fold strategy of Covid-appropriate behaviour, test-track-treat, and vaccination was in place to prevent the spread of the disease.

In a letter to all states and Union Territories (UTs), Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that vaccination against Covid-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission.

Therefore, all state and UT governments should step up the speed of vaccination to cover maximum number of people in an expeditious manner, he said.

The letter comes a day after the Delhi High Court took note of violations of Covid norms in Delhi markets and said breach of protocol will only hasten the third wave of infections. The court also asked authorities to take strict measures against violators, sensitise shopkeepers and hold meetings with markets and vendors associations in this regard.

The home secretary said that during the second Covid wave, a significant surge in cases was witnessed in several states and UTs, and many of them imposed restrictions in order to contain the spread of the infection. “With a decline in the number of active cases, many states and UTs have started relaxing restrictions. I would like to highlight that the decision to impose or ease restrictions has to be taken based on the assessment of the situation at the ground level,” he said.

Bhalla said while the opening up of activities after decline in cases is essential, states and UTs must ensure the whole process is “carefully calibrated”. “While opening up, it would be extremely important to follow the five-fold strategy of Covid appropriate behaviour, test-track-treat and vaccination,” he further added.

Regular monitoring of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is required to prevent relapse, he said, adding, this includes mandatory use of masks, hand hygiene, social distancing and also proper ventilation of closed spaces. “However, easing of restrictions in some states have led to resumption of crowding of people in markets etc., without adherence to the norms of Covid appropriate behaviour,” Bhalla said said.

It is therefore essential to ensure that complacency does not set in, and there is no let-up in adhering to Covid-appropriate behaviour while opening up activities, Bhalla added.

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