The home ministry warned states and Union Territories on Wednesday about the return of lockdown-like restrictions if crowds are not controlled and Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed. In a strongly worded letter to state chief secretaries and UT administrators, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said people have been seen violating Covid norms at hill stations and in public transport across the country. “Blatant violation of Covid norms have been observed in several parts of the country, especially in public transport and at hill stations. Massive crowds are thronging the market places too, violating norms of social distancing,” the home secretary said.
He asked chief secretaries and administrators to issue strict directions to local authorities on crowd control, failing which restrictions would be reinstated. “It needs to be ensured that if norms of Covid-appropriate behaviour are not maintained at any establishment/premises /market, such places shall be liable for re-imposition of restrictions, and defaulter will be liable for action under relevant law,” Bhalla warned.
The home ministry also flagged the rising ‘R’ factor (Reproduction rate that indicates the speed at which the Covid infection spreads) in some of the states. “You may be aware that any increase in ‘R’ factor above 1.0 is an indicator of spread of COVID 19. Therefore, it is important that the authorities concerned shall be made responsible for ensuring Covid appropriate-behaviour (CAB) in all crowded places, such as shops, malls, markets…,” the letter read.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also expressed concern over people predicting that date for the onset of third wave than taking measures to avoid it. The PM also held meetings with northeastern states where Covid cases have been rising.