A series of restrictions have been suggested by the Centre ahead of New Year to tone down celebrations in the backdrop of the Covid outbreak and the new super infectious strain that has reached India with people returning from the United Kingdom. The states have been asked to impose restrictions on December 30, 31 and January 1 after assessing the local situation, though the final decision has been left to them.
"The number of Covid 19 active cases is declining steadily in the country for the last three-and-half months. Keeping in view the fresh surge of Covid-19 cases in Europe and Americas, there is still a need for maintaining comprehensive precaution and strict surveillance within our country," a top official has written to the states.
"You would appreciate that in the wake of New Year and various celebratory events associated with it as well as on-going winter season, strict vigil is required to be maintained to curb all potential "super spreader" events and places where crowds may gather," the letter read.
The letter, however, said that there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods.
The Centre's advisory comes as the country recuperates from a huge spike in cases during the festive season and its run-up. While the daily Covid figures in the national capital had shot up to 8,500, the national figure had climbed to 97,000 a day.
Over the last 24 hours, the country recorded 20,549 fresh infections -- 25 per cent higher than yesterday, taking the total to 1,02,44,852.So far, 1.48 lakh deaths linked to the disease have been recorded.
The letter comes as 20 coronavirus patients carrying the UK strain of the virus -- believed to be 70 per cent more infectious -- have been detected across the country. While flights to and from UK have been stopped till January 7, the Centre has started a massive project of tracing and testing international travelers who reached the country in the 14 days between December 9 and 22.
Genome sequencing of the 140-odd people who returned from the UK is also on. Besides, the government plans to conduct genome sequencing on 5 per cent of the people who tested positive in the country since November 23, to zero-in on any fresh mutation.
A consortium of 10 government labs is conducting the genome sequencing for the new strain.