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The government has lifted Covid-19 restrictions in several parts of the country as the number of cases has declined in India. Ever since the government relaxed Covid norms and lifted stringent rules, tourist destinations have suddenly seen a massive inflow of tourists. Several states have relaxed restrictions on travel and public activities as Covid cases began to diminish in the previous two months, signalling the end of the fatal second wave. This has encouraged people to think that visiting tourist places all at once is safe. However, massive crowd gatherings increase the risk of getting infected as we know that Covid can spread by air, which makes it necessary to follow precautions, including the use of protective masks and social distancing.
As per reports, the traffic has been of more than six lakhs in Himachal Pradesh alone. But other states are no different. As the number of new COVID cases in the country has begun to decline, visitors have flocked to locations such as Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Narkanda, and other regions of the state. With the unexpected influx of tourists, images and videos of packed Manali streets have appeared on the internet, causing concerns among officials and residents.
Showing concerns over the crowded tourist places, NITI Aayog's Member, Health, Dr V.K. Paul during the Health Ministry press briefing warned people that the second wave of coronavirus is not over and everyone must follow Covid protocols behaviour. He said, "We cannot lower our guard. Need to continue following Covid appropriate behaviour as it is not the end of the pandemic. Visuals of crowds not maintaining social distancing at tourist places are a serious cause of concern."
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of Health, also warned that the second wave was not over, saying, "It is important to continue following Covid procedures in order to properly shut the second wave." Showing a video from Kempty Falls in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, where a big throng is shown flouting all Covid regulations, he said, "Is that not an open invitation to the virus to infect us?"
"More than half of the total cases in the country are primarily reported from two states - Maharashtra and Kerala and spread of infection concentrated in a limited geography," he added, referring to the drop in daily new cases during the second wave.
According to data from the health ministry, India recorded 43,393 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours on Friday. The number of current cases in the country is 4,58,727. The daily positivity rate - the number of positive cases discovered per 100 - is 2.42 per cent, which has been less than 3% for 18 days in a row.
(With Inputs From IANS)
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