The Union government on Saturday advised states and Union Territories to take measures to avoid large gatherings during the upcoming festive season and, if required, impose local restrictions.

The home ministry said that it has extended its order on the implementation of “targeted and prompt actions for Covid-19 management” till September 30.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla sent letters in this regard to chief secretaries of all states and the administrators of Union Territories.

Over the next two months, several festivals, including Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja and Eid-e-Milad, will be celebrated across the country.

In this context, the Union home secretary called on states and Union Territories to enforce Covid-appropriate behaviour at all crowded places.

Bhalla, in the letter, also noted that the overall situation related to the pandemic now appears to be largely stable, except for localised spread of the virus in a few states.

“The total number of active cases and high case positivity in some districts continues to remain a matter of concern,” the letter said.

“The State Governments and UT administrations concerned, having high positivity in their districts, should take pro-active containment measures so as to effectively arrest the spike in cases and to contain the spread of transmission,” the home ministry added.

Bhalla also advised governments to continue to focus on the “five-fold strategy i.e Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour for effective management of Covid-19.”

The Union home secretary expressed concern on the “downward trend” in the data on enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour. “States and UTs are requested to augment their enforcement efforts for effectively checking transmission of the disease,” he said.

Bhalla also said that the country has made “significant progress” in terms of vaccination. “The State Governments/UT Administrations should continue with their vaccination programme so as to inoculate maximum number of eligible people.”

Covid-19 in India

On Saturday, India registered 46,759 new coronavirus cases, pushing the total infection tally in the country since the pandemic broke out in January last year to 3,26,49,947.

Saturday’s figure was the highest that India has recorded since July 1, according to The Times of India.

The toll climbed to 4,37,370 after 509 people died in the last 24 hours. So far, 3,18,52,802 people have recovered from the infection. The number of active cases reduced stood at 3,59,775.

The number of vaccine doses administered in India since the beginning of the inoculation drive on January 16 is 62,29,89,134. As many as 1,03,35,290 dosses were administered on Friday alone.

For over a month, Kerala has reported the highest number of cases among all states. On Saturday, Kerala alone accounted for over 70% of the total cases in the country.