For the next three months, be on the lookout: As the festival season approaches, the Union Ministry of Health has issued an appeal

NEW DELHI: As the Navratri festival begins today, the Union Health Ministry has issued a warning to the public to exercise caution during the next three months. “We need to be watchful for the months of October, November and December,” Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Health, said at a press conference in the national capital.

He also ordered that the celebrations be viewed digitally and that COVID-compliant behaviour be observed when seeing loved ones. “Attend Durga Pooja and Ram Leela virtually. Masks will remain very significant on Diwali,” he added, adding, “Meet your loved ones online on Diwali. Vaccination is a shield. Festival and  wedding seasons convey victory of good over evil.”

The health ministry further stated that India has successfully combated the coronavirus infection and has reached a plateau in COVID-19 cases. Nonetheless, it cautioned that the difficulty remains and that additional efforts are required.

“The challenge of Covid has not ended yet. To some extent, we say that we haven’t controlled the second wave of COVID. We need to make continuous efforts,” he said.

In the country’s 2.44 lakh current cases, 28 districts have a positivity rate of between 5-10%, which is fairly high.

“There are 28 districts including few in Arunachal Pradesh & Assam which have case positivity rate between 5-10%, that is, high infection rate. There are 34 districts which are reporting weekly positivity rate of over 10%,” he said.

He stated that Lakshadweep, Goa, Chandigarh, imachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Andaman & Nicobar had immunised 100% of their people with the first dosage of vaccine.

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