New Delhi, Dec 28 : Despite the declining trend in new Covid-19 cases, the Central government on Monday extended, till January 31 next year, the safety guidelines directing states and Union Territories (UTs) to maintain surveillance and follow containment measures set earlier.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued the fresh order, extending the earlier guidelines for surveillance in the first month of the new year.
"While there has been a continuous decline in the active and new Covid-19 or coronavirus cases, there is need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution, keeping in view the surge in cases globally, and emergence of a new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom (UK)," the ministry said in a statement.
Accordingly, it said containment zones should continue to be demarcated carefully and prescribed containment measures strictly followed within these zones.
As per the ministry, there is clear direction to promote Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and its strict enforcement.
It also directed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prescribed in respect of various permitted activities be followed "scrupulously".
Therefore, the ministry made it clear that the focused approach on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines or SOPs issued by it and the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, as envisaged in the guidelines issued on November 25 this year, need to be enforced strictly by states and UTs.
The fresh order comes at a time when India logged 20,021 fresh Covid-19 infections taking the total number of cases to 1,02,07,871, along with 279 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 1,47,901 as per latest data.
In the last 24 hours, 21,131 people have recovered, taking the total number of the recovered people to 97,82,669.
There are 2,77,301 active cases. The recovery rate stands at 95.83 per cent while the fatality rate is 1.45 as per cent.
The MHA order considers the new strain of the Covid-19 virus which has appeared in the UK.
The mutant is said to be 70 per cent more aggressive, according to reports. Flights and other forms of transport to and from the UK have been shut down to avoid the spread of the new mutant.