Uttarakhand govt asks people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour

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Dehradun, Mar 23 (PTI) The Uttarakhand government has asked people to strictly follow COVID-appropriate behaviour in view of the fresh surge in infections in various parts of the country and the upcoming Kumbh Mela. This comes days after the Centre had asked the state government to take stringent measures to control the spread of coronavirus during the Kumbh Mela beginning from April 1.

In the light of guidelines issued by both the central and state governments in the past for surveillance, containment and caution, Chief Secretary Om Prakash on Monday asked the district administrations, various state and central government organisations and other stakeholders to take all necessary measures to ensure wearing of face mask, maintaining hand hygiene and social distancing by people. These measures are also included in the National Directives for COVID-19 Management which have to be strictly followed throughout the state, he said. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had recently shot off a letter to the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary underlining the need for taking strict measures to check the spread of the pandemic especially during the upcoming Kumbh Mela in Haridwar which sees a huge turnout of devotees on the banks of the Ganga. 'After the steady decline in COVID-19 cases for about five months, cases are showing an increasing trend in several parts of the country over the past few weeks. It has been observed that it is largely due to laxity in the observance of COVID-appropriate behaviour by people especially in crowded places,' he said. Keeping in view the fresh surge in cases and upcoming festivals as well as the Maha Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, it will be important to ensure compliance of the guidelines and to strictly enforce COVID-appropriate behaviour, such as wearing masks and hygiene and social distancing by people. 'I would, therefore, urge all district magistrates, state government organisations and other stakeholders to take necessary measures for creating awareness among people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and simultaneously take necessary action for its strict enforcement to overcome the pandemic. 'Necessary orders, guidelines issued by various departments of Government of India, state government and respective district administration in this regard, should be widely disseminated to the public and to the tehsil, block and village level functionaries for implementation,' he said. Soon after taking over as Uttarakhand chief minister, Tirath Singh Rawat had said there will be no restrictions on devotees gathering in Haridwar for the Kumbh. Rawat himself tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and has been in isolation at home. PTI ALM DV DV