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COVID-19: Health Ministry asks states to keep vigil on New Year celebration events

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New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry has asked all states to keep a strict vigil on New Year celebrations that could be potential COVID-19 super-spreader events and also to curb crowding as a precautionary measure during the winter season.

In a letter to states and Union Territories, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan stated that the number of active COVID-19 cases has been declining steadily in the country for the last three-and-half months.

Keeping in view the fresh surge of coronavirus cases in Europe and the Americas, there was still a need for maintaining comprehensive precaution and strict surveillance within India, he underlined.

“You will appreciate that in the wake of New Year and various celebratory events associated with it as well as ongoing winter season, strict vigil is required to be maintained to curb all potential ‘super spreader’ events and places where crowds may gather,” Bhushan said in the letter.

The recent advice and guidance to the states by the Home Ministry has also been reiterated by the Health Secretary.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has mandated that states and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, such as night curfew, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Home Ministry has also stipulated that there shall be no restriction on interstate and intra-state movement of persons and goods.

Drawing attention to this, the Union health secretary has urged the states to “promptly assess the local situation and consider imposition of appropriate restrictions on December 30 and 31, as well as on January 1, 2021.”

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