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Only fully jabbed and asymptomatic people should be allowed in religious gatherings, Yatras, says Centre

A number of states have been showing an uptick in coronavirus cases, mainly due to new subavriants of Omicron

June 28, 2022 / 05:52 PM IST

The Centre, on June 28, wrote to states ahead of various religious congregations and festivities, suggesting that only asymptomatic and fully vaccinated individuals against COVID-19 should be allowed in mass gatherings.

The letter by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan comes as religious gatherings such as Jagannath Rath Yatra in Odisha and Kanwaraiya Yatra in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar, which see participation of lakhs of devotees are about to begin.

“If need be, a special drive for primary vaccination and precaution dose administration to all eligible people may be taken by the administration at least a fortnight in advance for those planning to join,” said the letter addressed to state chief secretaries.

It also said that additional precautions need to be taken by elderly persons and those with comorbidities while planning to participate in such events.

“They need to consult their treating doctors and continue taking medication throughout the period while closely monitoring their health,” wrote Bhushan.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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The communique underlined that while the trajectory of COVID-19 cases has declined significantly from levels that were observed in earlier part of the year, a few states are witnessing upswing in cases currently.

Also read: Analysis I US court strikes down right to abortion; what’s the scene in India?

A total of 11, 793 coronavirus infections were detected in India on June 28 while the active infections rose to 96,700.

“Upcoming months are likely to witness mass gatherings in context of various festivities as well as Yatras to be held in different parts of the country,” Bhushan said in his letter.

“During many such events and Yatras, lakhs of individuals undertake intra and inter-state journey spanning hundreds of kilometers with halting points arranged by volunteers and community based social and religious organizations,” he said.

The letter cautioned that such congregations may potentially facilitate transmission of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
Sumi Sukanya Dutta
first published: Jun 28, 2022 05:52 pm
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