After MHA, Health Ministry flags ‘blatant’ Covid norm violations to states

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A day after a similar missive by the Home Ministry, the Health Ministry Thursday flagged the “blatant violation” of Covid-19 norms at several places, especially hill stations, and reminded states and Union territories to ensure strict adherence to guidelines.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan Thursday wrote to Additional Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and State Health Secretaries, saying the process of relaxing norms should be “carefully calibrated’’.

Instead of this, he said, “blatant violations of Covid norms have been observed in several parts of the country, especially in public transport and at Hill Stations’’.

Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla had Wednesday written to all Chief Secretaries asking states to maintain Covid protocol, pointing to a June 29 Home Ministry directive on action to be taken for Covid-19 management.

“Massive crowds are also thronging market places, violating norms of social distancing. Consequently, increase in ‘R’ factor (Reproduction number) in some of the States, is a matter of concern. You may be aware that an 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 in all crowded places…. as well as at all areas identified as hotspots of transmission of Covid-19 virus,” Bhushan wrote.

Any establishment or market that does not follow these norms is to be made liable to face action, he said.

Bhushan stressed that the second wave of Covid is not yet over and that vigorous testing needs to be continued along with identification of active cases.

Echoing the Home Secretary’s words, Health Secretary Bhushan told states and Union Territories to make the officers concerned personally responsible “for any laxity’’ in the enforcement of protocol.

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