NITI Aayog (health) member Dr VK Paul said there has been no unusual surge in coronavirus cases over the last couple of weeks amid the festival season, reported Hindustan Times on Wednesday. However, Paul warned of a bigger impact of transmission in the coming days.

“First stage of festivities is over and the data that is before us tells us that people have shown a lot of restraint,” Paul said. “Having said that there is still some time before the total impact could be seen related to disease transmission during Navratri, Puja and Dussehra. The government is closely watching the situation as it takes 10 to 14 days for the cases to get reported.”

Paul added that the festive season was not over yet and occasions such as Diwali and Christmas were coming up. He also asserted the importance of strict adherence to physical distancing rules and Covid-19-appropriate behaviour.

“Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is most cost-effective,” seconded Indian Medical Council Research Director General Dr Balram Bhargava. “The cost of a mask is miniscule; same goes for washing hands and maintaining physical distance, which is also the most cost-effective measures.”

The Centre on Tuesday advised states to proactively pursue the “test-track-trace and treat” strategy as the festival season in India poses additional challenges. It said Manipur, Delhi, Kerala and West Bengal were among the states showing a rise in active cases in India.

India’s overall coronavirus count on Thursday reached 83,64,086 after a rise of 50,210 new infections. The toll went up by 704 to 1,24,315. There are 5,27,962 active cases, and 77,11,809 recoveries.

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