In an effort to stem the spread of the new COVID-19 variant omicron, the government has asked the states to impose night curfew with strict regulation for large gatherings.
This comes a day after the WHO warned that increased social mixing over the holiday period in many countries will lead to increased cases. With wedding season across the country, India is also recording a high number of omicron cases at 200.
Rajesh Bhushan, union health secretary, in a letter asked the state governments to impose curtailing numbers in marriage and funerals, restricting numbers in offices, industries, and public transport etc. He said that based on current scientific evidence, omicron is at least three times more transmissible than the delta variant.
“Besides, the delta is still present in different parts of the country. Hence, even greater foresight, data analysis, dynamic decision-making and strict, and prompt containment action is required at the local and district level. The decision-making at the State/UT and district level must be very prompt and focused.”
At the district level, Bhushan suggested there should be a constant review of emerging data regarding the population affected by COVID-19, geographical spread, hospital infrastructure and its utilization, manpower, notifying Containment Zones, enforcement of perimeter of containment zones etc. “This evidence should be the basis for effective decision making at the district level itself. Such a strategy ensures that infection is contained at the local level itself before it spreads to other parts of the state,” he said.
The union health secretary added that the main elements of the framework to be used by States and UTs to facilitate decision-making at the district level is test positivity of 10% or more in the last one week or bed occupancy of 40% or more on oxygen supported or ICU beds.
Bhushan said States and UTs can take containment measures and restrictions even before these thresholds are reached.