Ensure people in mass gatherings asymptomatic, fully vaccinated, states told

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New Delhi, Jun 28, 2022, IANS

The Centre on Tuesday asked states and Union Territories to ensure that people taking part in mass gatherings and pilgrimages are asymptomatic and preferably fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

"All states/UTs, where such mass gatherings/yatras are proposed to be held should widely publicise that all individuals planning to participate in such gatherings/events are asymptomatic and preferably fully vaccinated against Covid-19," Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter to the states and UTs.

He said if needed, a special drive for primary vaccination and precaution dose administration to all eligible people may be taken by the administration at least a fortnight in advance for those planning to join. Further adequate publicity and arrangement for testing (RTPCR & RAT) shall be done across multiple locations, he added.

While the trajectory of Covid-19 cases has declined significantly from levels that were observed in earlier part of this year, a few states and UTs across the country are witnessing a sustained upswing in the cases currently, he said in the letter.

The Centre has underlined need to enhance focus on five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

"During many such events/yatras, lakhs of individuals undertake intra- and inter-state journey spanning hundreds of kilometres with halting points arranged by volunteers and community-based social/religious organisations. Such congregations may potentially facilitate transmission of infectious diseases, including Covid-19," Bhushan said.

The Centre has said that in the events like religious yatras, where en-route congregation points are expected, state governments concerned shall identify major routes expected to be taken by individuals and organise requisite health facilities on these routes.