COVID: Centre asks states to restrict public observance of festivals, limit or stop gatherings
New Delhi: Amid a spike in COVID-19 infections in some parts of the country, the Centre on Wednesday asked states and union territories to consider imposing local restrictions in public observance of the upcoming festivals and limit or do away with mass gatherings for effective control of the pandemic.
Additional Secretary in the Health Ministry Arti Ahuja, in a letter to state chief secretaries and union territory administrators, stated that the battle against COVID-19 is at a critical juncture with rising number of cases and deaths being reported from many parts in the recent past.
“…in view of upcoming festivals such as Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Bihu, Easter and Eid-ul-Fitr, etc., it is strongly advised that states may consider imposing local restrictions in public observance of these festivals and limit/do away with mass gatherings in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” the letter read.
Ahuja asked states to refer to the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 23 for effective control of COVID-19, and also attached the order issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority for reference.
“Any laxity at this point in ensuring strict adherence to various SOPs issued by the Ministry of Health to contain the spread of COVID-19 may result in losing the impetus and benefits that our country has gained so far in managing the virus. Strict adherence to COVID-19-appropriate behaviour in public places and gathering is the key to break the chain of transmission and reduce the incidence of cases in the country,” the letter stated.