As Covid-19 cases fall, government tells states, UTs to consider easing curbs

NEW DELHI: The Union home ministry on Friday called upon states and Union Territories across the country to consider easing pandemic-related curbs for social, sports, entertainment and academic activities as well as night curfew hours in view of a steady fall in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases.

In the monthly Covid-19 guidelines issued on Friday, the home ministry directed the states and Union Territories to implement the resumption of activities based on “risk assessment”. The new directive on relaxing curbs includes cinema halls, schools and gyms.

In a letter addressed to all the states and Union Territories, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote, “With a substantial decline in [Covid] case positivity and in the number of active cases in the country, states and UTs are reopening activities. In view of the overall improved situation, there is a need to follow a risk assessment-based approach on the opening of economic activities.”

Bhalla added, “After a careful analysis of the local situation, relaxation in various activities may be considered, such as social/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious/ festival related gatherings; night curfew; operations of public transport; shopping complexes, cinema halls, gyms, spas, restaurants and bars; opening of schools, colleges, offices, and other commercial activities.”

The home ministry, however, emphasised that while allowing all such activities, Covid-appropriate measures such as wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing, washing hands and ensuring ventilation in enclosed spaces should continue to be enforced.

India reported 13,166 new Covid-19 cases and 302 deaths in the last 24 hours even as the number of active cases continue to decline, according to health ministry data.

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