As the states are gradually unlocking and locally easing curbs, the central government on Tuesday caution them to “carefully calibrate” the process of relaxing restrictions.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Tuesday wrote a letter to all the state governments and Union Territory administrations on covid-19 management for the month of July asking them to regularly monitor the districts with a high number of active coronavirus cases per million (10 lakh) population citing it is an important indicator to predict the need for upgrading the health infrastructure and logistics, so that early and prompt action can be taken.

“The decline in the number of active coronavirus cases, many states have started relaxing the restrictions. The process of relaxing the restrictions should be “carefully calibrated”, and prompt and targeted action needs to be taken by the states, in line with the advisory issued by the Union health ministry,” Bhalla said in the letter.

“States, UTs should closely monitor case positivity and bed occupancy on a regular basis, taking the districts as administrative units. On witnessing an early sign of an increase in the case positivity rate and higher bed occupancy, necessary action should be taken for containment and upgrading the health infrastructure,” he said in the letter.

Bhalla directed that the states may consider imposing restrictions for the districts with a high positivity rate and bed occupancy. “There should be a continuous focus on the five-fold strategy for effective management of Covid-19 i.e. test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour. As has been emphasised in previous home ministry orders and advisories, adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour is crucial to guard against any surge in the number of cases,” he said.

To reiterate, Covid-appropriate behaviour includes mandatory use of face masks, hand hygiene, following physical, social distancing (maintaining a two-yard distance with anybody) and proper ventilation of closed places, he added.

While easing the restrictions, it must be ensured that there is no let-up in adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, the home secretary said. “I would, therefore, urge you to issue directions to the districts and all other authorities concerned to take necessary measures as advised by the health ministry in its letter dated June 28 for the management of covid-19, he said in the letter.

“I would also advise that the orders issued by the respective state governments, UT administrations, district authorities in this regard should be widely disseminated to the public and the field functionaries for their proper implementation,” Bhalla said.

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