The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday extended the existing Covid-19 enforcement of containment measures till September 30 and asked the state governments and union territory administrations to strictly follow the earlier directions issued by the MHA and Union Health & Family welfare.
In an order issued by the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla Saturday, the Ministry said, "In the exercise of powers, conferred under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the undersigned hereby directs that the order of the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure compliance to the containment measures for Covid-19, as conveyed vide Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will remain in force up to 30th September 2021."
Noting that the overall pandemic situation at the national level now appears to be largely stable, except for the localised spread of the virus in few states, Bhalla said, "The total number of active cases and high case positivity in some districts continue to remain a matter of concern".
In a separate communication with states and UTs, he noted that the weekly enforcement data received from across the country with regard to wearing face masks in public, maintaining social distancing norms and imposition of fines indicate a downward trend, but asked the state governments and UT administrations to augment their efforts for effectively checking transmission of the disease.
Bhalla also directed the state administration to fix up the responsibility of the district officials if any failures occur in effective enforcement of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.
The Union Home Secretary also said that the states and UTs need to take suitable measures to avoid large gatherings during the coming festive seasons and if required, impose local restrictions with a view to curb such large gatherings.
"We need to continue our focus on the five-fold strategy -- test, track, treat, vaccination and adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour", he added.
Noting that the country has made significant progress in vaccination, Bhalla also asked the states and the UTs to continue their vaccination programmes so as to inoculate the maximum number of eligible persons and also to ensure that areas having no virus or low virus transmission are adequately protected by increasing testing and other surveillance measures.