New Delhi: After reviewing the coronavirus situation in the country and the possibility of the third wave, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday extended the COVID containment measures for states and UTs till August 31 and urged the states to take strict action in districts where the positivity rate is too high.Also Read - Mumbai Local Train Latest Update: Passenger Number Increases to 40 Lakh For First Time This Year

It must be noted that the positivity rate is the percentage of samples that test positive for a disease out of the total number of samples tested. On the other side, the high positivity rate indicates greater spread of a disease in a given population. Also Read - International Flights: UAE Relaxes Travel Guidelines, Covid Protocols For Indians Ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai

In the letter to all states and UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said there is “no room for complacency” in observing Covid-19 protocol despite the declining number of Covid-19 cases. Also Read - Fake Vaccination Certificates And Test Results Sold On Telegram For Rs 5,500: Report

“The letter also directs states/UTs to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour in all crowded places, especially in view of upcoming festivals. With the decline in the number of active cases, states and UTs are reopening activities in a gradual manner. While the decline in the number of cases is a matter of satisfaction, it may be noted that the absolute case numbers are still significantly high. Therefore, there no room for complacency and the process of relaxing restrictions should be carefully calibrated,” Ajay Bhalla said in his letter to the chief secretaries of states.

ON Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry flagged concerns over districts with more than 10 per cent COVID-19 positivity rate and said that the districts with more than 10 percent COVID-19 positivity rate have increased to 54 from 46 over the last week, while the rate of decline of average daily cases has also slowed down.

Highlighting the surge in COVID-19 cases reported from some countries, officials said that though there is a consistent decline in the average daily new cases in India, the pandemic is far from over and the country has to remain alert.

Addressing a press conference, Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said that in the week ending July 26, districts with more than 10 percent positivity rate increased to 54 from 46 in the previous week (July 14-20), which is a cause of concern.

These 54 districts are across 12 states and UTs, including Kerala (10), Manipur (10), Nagaland (7), Mizoram (6), Meghalaya (6), Arunanchal Pradesh (5) and Rajasthan (4).

Twenty-two districts in seven states — Kerala (7), Manipur (5), Meghalaya (3), Arunachal Pradesh (3), Maharashtra (2), Assam (1), Tripura (1) have reported an increasing trend in daily COVID-19 cases for the last four weeks and this is also a cause of concern, Agarwal said.