The second wave is still not over; we will not be safe until the entire country is safe, said Dr VK Paul, Member Niti Aayog at the health ministry briefing today as he urged citizens to continue to practice Covid-prevention measures.
His cautionary words come as various states have begun unlocking, gradually easing lockdown-like measures necessitated by the second wave which proved to be more deadly than the first one.
Having learnt hard lessons from the first time around when India raced out of a strict nationwide lockdown leading to complacency and sometimes even complete disregard for Covid measures, the Centre has requested states to implement graded restrictions and relaxation measures.
Termed ‘Guiding Principles for Identification of districts which require the highest level of Restrictions’, the guidelines state:
- Identify districts with high weekly case positivity ( more than 10%).
- Analyze bed occupancy (oxygen and ICU beds) vis-a-vis the available health infrastructure (more than 60%).
- Intensive monitoring in districts with high weekly case positivity or high bed occupancy (Oxygen and ICU beds).
- Restrictions once imposed will remain in force for a minimum period of 14 days.
- Clearly defined relaxations/restrictions may be provided in areas of the district (not under containment)
- The states have been advised to appointing a senior officer as the Nodal Officer for these districts.
- Necessary action for containment and health infrastructure upgradation should be undertaken.
- Microanalysis based on clusters of cases at the district level must be done.
- Lastly, implement the Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate strategy and ensure Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is being followed.
The Centre has also deputed multi-disciplinary teams to Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Manipur in view of the increased number of Covid-19 cases being reported by these states.