Union Home Secretary reviews steps taken to check COVID-19 at tourist places

New Delhi, Jul 10: Amid reports of blatant violations of COVID- appropriate behaviour in hill stations and tourist destinations, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Saturday held a high-level review meeting with senior state officials on steps taken for checking the spread of Covid 19 infection at hill stations and other tourist places.

Officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said, “During the meeting, the overall management of COVID-19 situation and the vaccination status in respect of the states of Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal were discussed.”

Besides the senior officials from the concerned state, the meeting was also attended by Member (Health) NITI Aayog Dr. VK Paul, Union Health Secretary, Director General of Indian Council for Medical Research.

In his brief to the officials of the participating states, the Home Secretary “sounded a note of caution” in view of media reports showing “blatant disregard of COVID-appropriate behaviour” at hill stations and other tourist locations, they said.

“Mr 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”, a senior home ministry official said.

The Home Secretary also observed that the decline of the second wave has been at variable stages across the country and that 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 per cent, the official added.

In this backdrop, the concerned states were 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, the official said, adding that adequate health infrastructure preparedness especially in rural, semi-urban and tribal areas, was also advised, keeping in view any potential future surge in cases.

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