Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 23 October 2021 6.37 AM IST

Full vaccination must if attending mass gathering, says Centre ahead of festive season


NEW DELHI: Mass gatherings should be discouraged but if attending it is essential then full vaccination should be a prerequisite, the union government said on Friday while urging people to get the jabs and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, especially during the festive season.

In a press conference, it warned that the second wave of coronavirus infection in India was not yet over.

The weekly positivity rate was showing an overall declining trend since the week ending May 10. However, 39 districts reported over 10 per cent weekly COVID-19 positivity rate in the week ending August 31 while in 38 districts it was between five and 10 per cent, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

He said that the number of districts reporting more than 100 daily cases has declined from 279 in the week ending on June 1 to 42 in the week ending on August 30.

Only Kerala has more than one lakh active cases while Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have active cases between 10,000 to one lakh. In 31 states and Union Territories the number of active cases is less than 10,000.

Bhushan added that 69 per cent of the total cases in the last week were reported from Kerala alone.

India recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 infections in over two months on Thursday with 47,092 people contracting the disease as the country's total tally of cases rose to 3,28,57,937.

In view of the upcoming festive season amid the scare of the third wave of COVID-19 infections striking the country, the Centre said mass gatherings should be discouraged.
"Full vaccination should be a prerequisite if it is absolutely essential to attend a gathering," ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said.

He said vaccines prevent severe forms of the disease and death while stressing the need for wearing masks even after vaccination.

NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul urged people to be careful particularly in the context of the upcoming festivals and changes in weather.

"Therefore, it is a very strong plea to all of us that even as we accelerate the vaccination programme and embrace the vaccines... precautions must continue and must intensify.

"The occasion to not wear a mask has not come yet, the festivals like last year have to be celebrated differently. We would need to wait longer for the way we used to celebrate festivals with vigour," he said.

In view of the upcoming festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Eid, Navratri, Paul urged people to celebrate at home with family and not venture out unnecessarily.

"Whatever stabilisation we are seeing can be lost and the X factor here is the behaviour of viruses. If a virus mutates then the whole system will shake as we have seen in the second surge. There was no systematic control over it and till we could understand the virus' behaviour a lot of time had passed. So we have to be careful.

"We would like to request people that during festivals they should... wear masks, maintain social distancing, not crowd, and embrace vaccination. We request people who have not got vaccinated yet to get the shots," Paul said.

The message of vaccination must be taken to the heartland of India. "It is our duty that we facilitate vaccination for those who wish to get vaccinated and connect them", he said.

No one should be left behind. Vaccine availability is increasing and this opportunity must be used to push back this pandemic, Paul asserted.

Vaccination is important for pregnant women and their baby otherwise, the risk of complications rises. The more pregnant women can get vaccinated the better, he said.
Paul also emphasised the need for taking the second dose.

"For complete protection, the second dose is important. The level of protection one gets after the second dose is much higher than the one after the first. The complete guarantee that one gets is after the second dose.

"The government is making its efforts but if your second dose is due please get it because then only you are more protected and it becomes difficult for the virus to transmit through you," he added.

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