Ahead of the upcoming festival of Diwali, states and union territories across the country have been asked to ensure that celebrations are held in a safe and cautious manner. On Saturday, the centre asked states and UTs to carry out "utmost precautions" to prevent a further spike in Covid-19 cases in view of the ongoing pandemic.
In a letter to, the centre said that urged states and UTs to follow standard operating procedures issued last month. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in the letter, said that there should be no mass gathering in areas identified as containment zones and in districts reporting more than 5 per cent Covid-19 test confirmation rates. He further added that necessary directions should be issued adequately in advance by state governments concerned for practising caution during the festivities.
"Gatherings that are allowed with advance permission and a limited number of people (as per local context) should be closely monitored and in case of violations of Covid-appropriate behaviour, necessary enforcement and penal actions should be taken.
"There should be strict adherence to limits on public gatherings taking into account availability of space to ensure effective physical distancing," the Centre said.
The Centre also asked states and UTs to explore and promote various modalities for online modes of celebrations, online shopping and discourage unnecessary travel.
The Centre said it is crucial that district health authorities keep a strict watch over local trajectory of cases and institute timely and rigorous interventions based on the advisories issued by the health ministry and Home ministry from time to time.
"States/UTs are further requested to ensure that non-adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour in public places is dealt with strongly. Inter-sectoral collaboration between health departments, law enforcement agencies, market and trade associations, civil society organizations, and community will be essential to curbing any risk of a spike in Covid-19 trajectory," Bhushan said in the letter.
(With PTI inputs)