The central government has started a campaign dubbed Mission 100 Days to control the spread of Covid-19 infections during the festive season.
India registered 230,971 active Covid-19 cases on Sunday, according to government data. According to the World Health Organization, a weekly rate of five per cent or less indicates the spread of infections is somewhat under control. However, 34 districts in nine states and Union territories still report a weekly positivity rate of 10 per cent. There are fears that the festive season that started in October could see a resurgence of Covid-19.
This year should be about Covid-safe festivities, which in effect means people celebrate festivals predominantly online to avoid spreading Covid-19, a central government official said on condition of anonymity. “We are asking states to be extra vigilant during the next 100 days, and ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is observed. Only then we will be able to save the country from an expected surge in cases.” he added.
A “prevention fatigue has set in among the masses, which is why it is more important to make extra efforts to make people understand the importance of not giving up right now”, the official said. “It is important to keep on doing what we are doing to prevent the disease spread with greater intensity, and look for ways to improve on existing measures for better effect.”
The Centre has regularly issued guidelines to states, asking them to intensify containment measures in areas or districts that continue to report high caseloads, such as aggressive testing and strictly marking containment zones. States have also been asked to generate awareness among people to become a collective effort, especially during the festive season, as new cases have always seen a surge after festivals.
The Centre has asked states to not allow mass gatherings in containment zones and districts reporting at least 5 per cent case positivity. Even when groups are allowed in such districts, they should need permissions, and there have to be caps on the number of attendees. Physical visits or meetings are to be discouraged in favour of online darshans and virtual celebrations. The guidelines say that all rituals such as effigy burning and pandal hopping during the Durga Puja, Dandiya and Garba, and Chhath Puja should be symbolic.