New Delhi/Agartala, Aug 4 (IANS) The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have expressed concern about the potential of mass gatherings during upcoming festivals across the country turning into super-spreader events, thereby leading to a spike in Covid cases, states were warned on Wednesday.
Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories, stressed that any laxity during the imminent festivities in ensuring strict adherence to the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and ensuring Covid appropriate behaviour, may result in losing the impetus that the country has gained so far in managing the pandemic.
He said that in view of forthcoming festivals -- Muharram (August 19), Onam (August 21), Janmashtami (August 30), Ganesh Chaturthi (September 10), and Durga Puja (October 5-15), large public gatherings are expected.
"It is advised that states may actively consider imposition of local restrictions in public observation of these festivals and curb mass gatherings," Bhushan said in his letter.
He said that although the trajectory of daily new cases has shown a steady decline over the last month, there are a few states which still reflect signs of upsurge in their daily cases and positivity.
The Union Home Ministry had, under the Disaster Management Act, given directions for taking focussed containment measures, he said.