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Centre advises States to rein in holiday crowds at hill stations and other tourist places

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla chaired a meeting yesterday to review the steps taken by State Governments for checking the spread of COVID-19 in Hill Stations and Tourist locations.

During the meeting in New Delhi, the overall management of COVID-19 situation and the vaccination status in the States of Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal was discussed.

The Union Home Secretary sounded a note of caution in view of media reports showing blatant disregard of COVID-appropriate behaviour in hill stations and other tourist locations.

He emphasised that the second wave of COVID was not yet over; and States should ensure strict adherence to the protocols prescribed in respect of wearing of masks, social distancing and other safe behaviour.

It was observed that the decline of the second wave is at variable stages in the different States and Union Territories in the country.  It was noted that while the overall case positivity rate may be declining, the case positivity rate in certain districts of Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh is over 10 per cent which is a cause for concern.

States were also asked to follow the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and COVID Appropriate Behaviour,. During the meeting adequate health infrastructure preparedness especially in rural, peri-urban and tribal areas was also advised with a view to tackle any potential future surge in cases.

The meeting was attended by NITI Aayog  Member Dr. V.K. Paul, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Director General, ICMR and Chief Secretaries, Directors General of Police and Principal Secretaries (Health) of the eight States.

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