New Delhi: As people are being spotted flaunting Covid-19 norms while relaxation in lockdown restrictions across India, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday warned chief secretaries of all the states against the repercussion of such violations, alleging second wave not yet over, in an advisory urging governments to ensure members of the public follow COVID-19 protocols.. The Home Ministry also showed concern over an increase in the ‘R’ factor, or reproduction rate, of the coronavirus in some states and Union Territories.
“Blatant violations of Covid norms have been observed in several parts of the country, especially in public transport and at hill stations,” Bhalla wrote.
The official asked the states to ensure those defaulting on the norms are booked under relevant provisions.
“It is emphasized that the second wave of Covid is not yet over. We ought to remember that while the reach of vaccination is increasing considerably, there is no room for complacency and hence Covid appropriate behaviour must continue,” Bhalla said in his letter to all states and UTs.
The home secretary asked states to focus on the five-fold strategy of test, track, treat, vaccinate and follow Covid appropriate future to avert any future rise in cases.
The consequent increase in the ‘R’-factor (reproduction number) in some of the states is a matter of concern, Bhalla added.
The ‘R’-factor indicates the speed at which the infection is spreading in the country. An ‘R’-factor below 1 indicates that each infected individual is on average passing on the disease to less than one person.
In its advisory to chief secretaries and administrators of the states and UTs, the Union home ministry said: “Massive crowds are thronging the marketplaces, violating norms of social distancing. Consequently, increase in ‘R’ factor (reproduction number) in some states is a matter of concern.”
“Consequently, an increase in the ‘R’ factor (reproduction number) in some of the states is a matter of concern. Any increase in the ‘R’ factor above 1.0 is an indicator of the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, it is important that the authorities concerned are made responsible for ensuring Covid-Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) in all crowded places such as shops, malls, markets, restaurants, railway stations, and other hotspots.”
Any establishment, premises, markets and other such places where Covid-appropriate behaviour is not being maintained is liable for the re-imposition of restrictions and the defaulters may face action under the relevant laws, the home secretary said.
India on Wednesday reported 38,792 cases and 624 deaths due to Covid-19 in the last 24 hours.