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Enforce COVID protocols during Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Easter: MHA to states

New Delhi: With the second wave of coronavirus cases being recorded across the country, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) have asked states to enforce COVID-19 protocols during upcoming festivals.

In a letter addressed to chief secretaries and director generals of police (DGPs) of states on Friday, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla called for “strict adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour in public places and gatherings” to break the chain of transmission in the country.

“In view of the upcoming festivals such as Holi, Shab-e-Barat, harvesting festivals, Easter, Eid-ul-Fitr, state governments/UT administrations should take necessary measures to regulate crowds during these festivals by ensuring strict observance of COVID appropriate behaviour, such as wearing of mask and maintaining social distancing,” Bhalla wrote.

“I would urge you to issue necessary instructions to the district administrations and police authorities to scrupulously enforce COVID appropriate behaviour and SoPs in all public gatherings during the upcoming festivals. Further IEC campaign should also be intensified for creating public awareness,” he further added.

As has been emphasised time and again by the health experts, strict adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour in public places and gatherings will help in breaking the chain of transmission and reduce the incidence of COVID cases in the country, the Home Secretary wrote.

In a communique to chief secretaries and administrators of states and union territories on Wednesday, Arti Ahuja, Additional Secretary with Union Health Ministry, wrote that “in view of upcoming festivals such as Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Easter and Eid-ul-Fitr, etc., it is strongly advised that states consider imposing local restrictions in public observation of these festivals and limit/do away with mass gatherings, in exercise of powers conferred under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.”

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