New Delhi: After ‘frightening’ visuals of mask-less tourists thronging hill stations in Himachal and Uttarakhand went viral on social media, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Saturday chaired a meeting to review the steps taken by state governments for checking the spread of the pandemic at these tourist locations.Also Read - Shane Warne in Self-Isolation After Testing Positive For COVID-19: Report

  1. During the meeting, Ajay Bhalla sounded a note of caution against reported blatant disregard of COVID-appropriate behaviour at hill stations and other tourist locations, stressing that the second wave of the pandemic is not yet over.
  2. During the meeting, the overall management of the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination status in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal were discussed.
  3. The meeting was conveyed that the decline of the second wave is at variable stages in the different states and UTs in the country, and while the overall case positivity rate may be declining, the case positivity rate in certain districts of Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh is over 10 percent, which is a cause for concern.
  4. On the other hand, the Himachal Pradesh Police has deployed extra dedicated force to enforce COVID19 appropriate behaviour in tourist hot spots like Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, Rohtang Tunnel, Kasauli & Dalhousie.
  5. The Union Home Secretary sounded a note of caution in the wake of media reports showing blatant disregard of COVID-appropriate behaviour at hill stations and other tourist locations, the statement said.
  6. Bhalla emphasised that the second wave of COVID was not yet over and states should ensure strict adherence to the protocols prescribed in respect of wearing of masks, social distancing and other safe behaviour.
  7. States were also asked to follow the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and COVID Appropriate Behaviour, as has been laid out in the MHA order dated June 29, 2021.
  8. Adequate health infrastructure preparedness, especially in rural, peri-urban and tribal areas, was also advised to tackle any potential future surge in cases.
  9. The Home Ministry said the second wave initiated lockdowns in various states, which have now been relaxed with some curbs still in place.
  10. It said the people should not be quick to throng tourist destinations despite warnings of a third wave estimated to hit India either by September or October.
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