Process of relaxing restrictions should be carefully calibrated, says Home Secretary in another letter
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday asked the States and Union Territories to consider implementation of targeted and prompt actions for COVID-19 management in accordance with the latest Health Ministry advisory, till July 31.
According to the order, issued under the Disaster Management Act, the national directives for COVID-19 management, as specified in the Health Ministry advisory dated June 28, will continue to be strictly followed throughout the country.
“All the District Magistrates shall strictly enforce the above measures. For the enforcement of social distancing, State/UT governments may, as far as possible, use the provisions of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” said the MHA’s directive.
Any person violating the measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, besides legal action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, and other legal provisions as applicable.
In another letter, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that with a decline in the number of active cases, many States and Union Territories had started relaxing restrictions. However, the process of relaxing restrictions should be carefully calibrated, he wrote. They should closely monitor case positivity and bed occupancy on a regular basis, taking district as an administrative unit.
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On witnessing any early signs of increase in case positivity and higher bed occupancy, necessary action should be taken for containment and upgrade of health infrastructure. For the districts with high positivity and higher bed occupancy, States/Union Territories may consider imposing restrictions.
States and Union Territories have been asked to regularly monitor the districts with higher numbers of active cases per million population, as it is an important indicator to predict the need for upgrading health infrastructure and logistics, so that early and prompt action can be taken.
There should be a continuous focus on the five-fold strategy — test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour — for effective COVID-19 management, said the letter.