The Central Government on Wednesday, asked all states and the Union Territories to issue strict directions to districts and other local authorities concerned to regulate the crowded places and take necessary measures for management of COVID-19.
The directions came in the wake of "blatant violations" of Covid norms in several parts of the country, espeically in public transport and hill stations, at a time when third wave of the Covid infections are already engulfing various countries and there is a certain possiblity that it will hit India in upcoming weeks, if the Covid appropriate behaviour is not followed by the people strictly.
The advisory sent by the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also advised that the orders issued by the respective state governments or UT administrations, district authorities in this regard should be widely disseminated to the public and to the field functionaries for their proper implementation.
"If the norms of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour are not maintained at any establishment/premises/markets etc, such places shall be liable for the re-imposition of restrictions, for containing the spread of Covid-19 and the defaulters shall also be liable for action under the relevant laws,” the advisory sent by Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said.
The advisory warned that "any increase in 'R' factor(Reproduction number) above 1.0 is an indicator of spread of Covid".
"It is emphasised 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 in line with our philosophy of ‘dawai bhi kadai bhi'. Testing needs to be continued with the same vigor, as adequate testing is extremely essential in terms of checking the virus and early identification of cases," it further said.
The Home Ministry issued the advisory a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags crowding issue while interacting with Chief Ministers of northeast states, saying "the crowds at hill stations and markets where people are not wearing masks or following Covid-19 protocols are a matter of concern".
Photos have surfaced in recent weeks of people rushing to Musoorie and Nanital in Uttarakhand and roaming around with little regard to social distancing norms or wearing of masks.