Centre extends pandemic restrictions ahead of festive season till October 31

Ahead of the festive season, the Centre has extended COVID-19 restrictions till October 31 as localised spread of the virus is still being reported in a few states. The Union Home Ministry has issued fresh guidelines to the states and Union Territories to ensure COVID-appropriate behaviour in their respective regions ahead of festival season.

In a letter to the chief secretaries and administrators of all states and Union Territories, the Centre has stated that COVID-19 cases may surge during the festive season if caution is thrown to the wind. In the notice issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla pointed out two main fears- non-adherence to virus protocol considering the decline in cases and less number of cases however there are ‘still localised spreads of virus’. The MHA asserted, ‘critical to enforce adherence to guidelines which allows regular festivities in a cautious, safe, and COVID appropriate manner’. The letter added that while daily cases and the overall number of patients are declining steadily, there is still localised spread in a few states. The large-scale gatherings in “fairs, festivals and religious events” may lead to a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. Utmost vigil has to be maintained in respect of mass gathering events, so as to avoid any possibility of a surge in COVID-19 cases, The festivities are set to start with Navratri on October 7, followed by Dussehra, Milad-Un-Nabi, Karwa Chauth in October; Diwali, Chhath Pooja and Guru Nanak Jayanti in November; as well as Christmas and New Year’s Eve in December.