Home Secy reviews COVID-19 situation in hill stations, tourist locations; says pandemic is not yet over

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New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Saturday sounded a note of caution against reported blatant disregard of COVID-appropriate behaviour at hill stations and other tourist locations, stressing that the second wave of the pandemic is not yet over.

The Home Secretary was reviewing the steps taken by the state governments for checking the spread of COVID-19 at hill stations and tourist locations, a home ministry statement said.

During the meeting, the overall management of the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination status in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal were discussed.

The meeting was conveyed that the decline of the second wave is at variable stages in the different states and UTs in the country, and while the overall case positivity rate may be declining, the case positivity rate in certain districts of Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh is over 10 percent, which is a cause for concern, the statement said.

The Union Home Secretary sounded a note of caution in the wake of media reports showing blatant disregard of COVID-appropriate behaviour at hill stations and other tourist locations, the statement said.

Bhalla emphasised that the second wave of COVID was not yet over and states should ensure strict adherence to the protocols prescribed in respect of wearing of masks, social distancing and other safe behaviour.

States were also asked to follow the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and COVID Appropriate Behaviour, as has been laid out in the MHA order dated June 29, 2021.

Adequate health infrastructure preparedness, especially in rural, peri-urban and tribal areas, was also advised to tackle any potential future surge in cases.

The meeting was attended by V K 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. PTI ACB RT RT

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