Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday told the nation not to let its guard down with regard to wearing of masks, continuing with social distancing norms and frequent handwashing. In an address to the nation, Modi said people should stay on guard to ensure the disease doesn’t affect them or their families during the upcoming festive season.
The prime minister said that markets are ready to welcome the festive season but people should take all precautions as coronavirus is still around while lockdowns may have ended. He said that the country is in stable situation at the moment and we should ensure that it does not deteriorate. The prime minister gave out the example of US and European countries and said that due to negligence these countries witnessed a spike in coronavirus cases after bringing the situation under control. He said the citizens must ensure that such a situation does not arise in India. PM Modi also wished the nation for the festive season.
PM Modi is due to visit Bihar for several campaign meetings from October 23 ahead of the first phase of voting in the state on October 28. Social media is replete with pictures of senior leaders of both the National Democratic Alliance and the Mahagathbandhan addressing crowds which don’t seem to heed any of the anti-Covid measures.
While there is good news in the sense that cases seem to have come down, India’s Covid-19 tally stood at 75,97,063 on Tuesday with 46,790 new infections in the last 24 hours. This is the lowest single-day jump in fresh cases since the end of July.
On Sunday, the Central government’s committee of experts said the pandemic has peaked in India and will end by February next year. Warning against relaxation in safety measures, the committee said in its study that the upcoming festive winter season and winter may increase susceptibility to the infection.
Again on Sunday, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said Covid-19 had seen community transmission in some districts in a few states but said it is not happening countrywide. Pointing Kerala, Vardhan said Kerala is seeing a spurt in cases due to gross negligence during Onam festivities in end August. The Covid situation in Kerala changed after the festival.
During Onam week, there were huge congregations where people convened in large numbers and didn’t take precautions, Vardhan said. Kerala paid the price for its gross negligence after good control in the initial phase of the pandemic, he said. Other states must learn from Kerala’s negligence during Onam and states need to be careful during the coming festival season, he said. Reacting to it, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Vardhan’s remark should not be taken as a criticism of the efforts of the state in Covid management.
In West Bengal, with the Covid-19 situation still fluid, the Calcutta High Court ordered that all Durga Puja pandals in West Bengal will be no-entry zones for visitors and only organisers will be allowed to enter pandals. This direction will apply to all the 34,000 Durga Puja pandals in the state.