‘Frightening’: ICMR, health ministry on overcrowding in hill stations
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) on Tuesday warned against complacency amid the waning second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, referring in particular to the "frightening" images of crowded hill stations, with people rushing to places like Manali, Kullu, Shimla and Dharamsala to beat the heat.
"Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is absolutely essential. The pictures that we have seen today are frightening and we have to be very careful, very responsible and very cautious," ICMR director general Dr Balram Bhargava said at the health ministry's press conference on the current Covid-19 situation in the country.
Lav Agarwal, a joint secretary in the health ministry, also spoke on the issue of people becoming complacent due to the waning second wave of Covid-19. "I would like to highlight media coverage of revenge travel. People, fed up of sitting at home due to restrictions, now seem to believe that if restrictions have been lifted, it means that the virus has ended. The infectious disease is still among us. We need to continue following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. Even a small mistake could prove costly," Agarwal said. He further warned that the second wave is still existent in a "limited way" in some areas.
As the second wave declines, overcrowding has been seen at markets in various cities of the country. On Monday, authorities in Delhi ordered the closure of the famous Lajpat Nagar market over alleged violation of Covid-19 norms. Several other markets in the Capital, too, have been warned against overcrowding.
In the last 24 hours, India reported 34,703 new Covid-19 cases and 553 deaths due to the viral disease, according to the health ministry's data. In the 24-hour period before that, the country saw 39,796 fresh infections and a daily toll of 723.