The steadily rising numbers of COVID-19 cases throughout the country has become a cause of concern for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Although this rise in daily cases has not been consistent throughout the country, certain states like Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka have experienced a massive spike in numbers.
This has forced these state governments to resume strict COVID-19 protocols and preventive measures. Along with placing increased restrictions on gatherings in public places like shopping malls and parks, these states have also enforced the Test-Track-Treat Protocol to help flatten the curve once again.
The Test-Track-Treat Protocol
The renewed surge in COVID-19 cases in several Indian states has resulted in the reinforcement of the Test-Track-Treat Protocol that can help curb the rapid spread of the virus. The need for the Test-Track-Treat Protocol has become even more significant and observing strategies for demarcating containment zones has also become necessary at the micro-level.
- Test – The rates of RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 need to be increased to the optimum of 70% in all states and union territories.
- Track – The people who turn out positive should have their contacts in the last 24 hours tracked down and tested as well to prevent further spread of the virus.
- Treat – People who have turned up positive should be isolated or quarantined, where appropriate and timely treatment is to be provided to them to prevent deaths from the virus.
Along with the Test-Track-Treat Protocol, state governments have also marked public places as the main cause of the rapid spread of the virus.
Public Places – the Super Spreader Zones
The Delhi government has reported a total of 6,49,973 active cases of COVID-19 as of 24th March 2021. This resulted in the Delhi government placing malls, cinema halls, indoor auditoriums, and metro stations under the tags of ‘Super Spreader Zones’. The government of Delhi also declared that massive randomized testing for the virus is to be conducted in these zones to identify active cases and quarantine them for treatment. Law enforcement authorities in Delhi have also been instructed to prevent public gatherings during the upcoming festivals of Holi, Shab-e-Baraat, and Navratri.
Holi Banned in 5 Indian States
Since the beginning of 2021, the country has not recorded such a rise in the number of cases as has been recorded in the last few days, indicating an unprecedented spike in the spread of the virus. As a result, these 5 states have placed a ban on public gatherings during festivals like Holi:
- Uttar Pradesh
No Need for Comorbidity Certificate
In the wake of such an alarming rate of increase in infected cases, amping up the vaccination drive has become one of many solutions. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has urged all Indians above the age of 45 years to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of comorbidities since it is an effective preventive measure. Moreover, the country now has an ample supply of vaccines developed by both Bharat Biotech and AstraZeneca-Oxford.
Towards a Safer Future
With the multi-pronged approach of the Indian Government with regards to increasing the intensity of the ongoing vaccination drives and placing strict restrictions in containment zones, there is hope for the country to return to normal. Placing bans on public gatherings may seem extreme even in 2021 but measures like these are a necessary evil needed to fight for the greater good.
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