A health worker collects a nasal swab sample from a teacher at a school in Amritsar on Friday. AFP
India’s Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday extended the prevailing restrictions for surveillance, containment and caution against the spread of COVID-19 till the end of March. The restrictions were to have expired at midnight on Feb.28.
"There is need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution so as to fully overcome the pandemic. States and Union Territories have also been advised to speed up the vaccination of the target population so as to break the chain of transmission and overcome the pandemic," the ministry’s guidelines for the coming month said.
Civic authority marshals fine a motorcyclist for not wearing a face mask in public at Dharavi in Mumbai. AFP
Containment zones, which are areas with a high COVID-19 infection rate, must continue to be demarcated carefully and prescribed containment measures are to be strictly followed within these zones.
"COVID-19-appropriate behaviour must be promoted and enforced and the Standard Operating Procedures prescribed in respect of various permitted activities must be followed scrupulously," the ministry warned..
The Health Ministry on Saturday put the total number of cases in India at 173,763 with 4,971 deaths. The total infections included 86,422 active cases and 82,369 recoveries.
The government halted all domestic flights — which ferried 144 million passengers as well as cargo across the vast country last year — on March 25, days after suspending international flights.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah presided over public rallies in northern states with footage from the events showing thousands of people gathered in open grounds to hear their speeches.
Senior health official Vinod Kumar Paul told a news briefing that government experts were studying data on boosters but "our emphatic view...is to (first) cover every adult with (just) the primary two doses." The government has said this target can be achieved by January.
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Dr Anwar Gargash met on Saturday with Tim Lenderking, who conveyed American’s solidarity with the UAE regarding the Houthi terrorist attack.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Health, people who are travelling abroad can get a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine free of cost by showing their documents at vaccination centres.
Warning of a "five-alarm global fire" threatening humanity, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a philosophical call for the restoration of humanism at a time of the emergence of "the twilight of shared values."