New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: As the festive season is inching closer the health ministry has issued a list of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be followed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The health ministry has asked citizens to maintain Covid-19 appropriate behaviour during the festivals to ensure that the virus doesn't spread.

In a media briefing on Thursday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said “As festivals are approaching, we appeal to all to avoid crowds, maintain physical distance and use face masks. Celebrate festivals maintaining Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.”

Emphasizing the same concern the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) DG Balram Bhargava also said “It will be prudent to avoid non-essential travel and observe festivity, but at low-key at least this year.”

On September 21, the health ministry had written to the states and union territories, listing the SOPs for the upcoming festive season.

Here's a look at what's allowed and what's not:

  • Mass gatherings are not allowed in areas identified as containment zones and in districts where the COVID-19 positivity rate is more than 5 per cent.
  • Gatherings are only allowed with advance permissions.
  • Limited people (as approved by the local authorities) will be allowed in the gatherings.
  • The health ministry has suggested avoiding unnecessary travel and celebrate the festivals online with family and friends.
  • Further, relaxations or restrictions will be imposed based on the weekly case positivity rate.

Meanwhile, 69 per cent of the country's adult population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 25 per cent has taken both doses, the government said. Of these 64.1 per cent doses of COVID-19 were administered in rural areas and 35 per cent were administered in urban areas. The government also said that the increased population density raises chances of COVID-19 spread amid the festivals, therefore, it is important to follow the laid protocols by the authorities.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha