Indian government urges states ‘to be careful’ while reopening
People eat a meal at a food court in Select City Mall after authorities eased a lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, in New Delhi on June 19, 2021. (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIA’s central government has urged states to be careful in reopening from Covid-19 lockdowns to prevent a resurgence of infections in the hard-hit country.
Indian states are easing restrictions as a second wave of coronavirus infections appears to abate. The country is second only to the US in confirmed infections at 29.9 million.
States and territories “must ensure that the whole process is carefully calibrated,” home secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote in a letter to top provincial bureaucrats.
“A system should be in place at the micro level to ensure that whenever cases are rising in a smaller place it gets checked there itself through local containment measures,” he wrote.
India reported 58,419 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours on Sunday (20), the lowest daily number in nearly three months, data from the health ministry showed.
The total number of casesin India have risen to 29.9 million and so far 386,713 people have died. Deaths rose by 1,576 overnight.
Since the easing of restrictions, crowds and traffic have filled the streets in cities across India, threatening another spike in infections in the world’s second-most populous country.
Bhalla urged states to regularly monitor adherence to Covid-19 guidelines – masks, hand hygiene, social distancing, and proper ventilation in closed spaces.
He asked them to continue the country’s “test-track-treat” strategy and step up the pace of vaccinations.
A third wave of infections is likely to hit India by October, and although it will be better controlled than the last outbreak, the pandemic will remain a public health threat for at least another year, a Reuters poll of medical experts showed.