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Caution is key as unlock is set to begin in NCR | Noida News – Times of India


NOIDA/GHAZIABAD: Active cases have been reducing steadily in Noida and Ghaziabad and are soon expected to dip below 600, a benchmark set by the state government to ease lockdown restrictions.
As the two NCR cities gear up to resume business, officials have warned people against letting their guard down.
Traders and businessmen in the twin cities said they were hopeful of the curbs being lifted by Monday, when the government is expected to take a decision.
The second Covid wave has hit almost all businesses hard, just when they had finished nursing the blow of last year’s national lockdown. If active cases in Noida and Ghaziabad go below 600 by Monday, the 24-hour lockdown would be converted to night curfew.
The district administrations have said the Unlock would happen in phases. While most commercial establishments are expected to lift their shutters, salons, spas, gyms and swimming pools are likely to remain shut. Officials, however, have sounded an alert for residents and have appealed to them to not throw caution to the wind.
“That is because we have seen in the past that when restrictions are lifted, people become casual and stop following Covid-appropriate behaviour. That causes the infection to spread again. Earlier too, we have seen a surge in Covid cases after easing of restrictions,” said a senior health department official.
Last year too, cases had spiked almost six times in Noida and Ghaziabad in June, when the national lockdown was lifted. Similar was the situation during the festival season starting September, when people had thronged the markets and let their guard slip.
Officials said that apart from the Unlock effect, an increase in the number of tests had also led to detection of more cases.
Testing had increased by almost 40% in Noida in June after the introduction of antigen kits and Truenat machines as compared to the previous month.
Similar was the testing situation in Ghaziabad. Dr RK Gupta, the district surveillance officer in Ghaziabad, said, “Cases go up because people start mingling with each other without following the protocols. This was evident during the festival season. We have been urging people to continue maintaining caution. Traders also have been asked to ensure the ‘no mask no deal policy’ and use the public address system to discourage customers from bringing their family members for shopping.”
Officials pointed out that only responsible behaviour by residents would ensure the ease of restrictions continued. The guidelines, they said, aren’t any different from last year. People need to wear masks while stepping out, sanitise and wash their hands and maintain social distance.
Noida officials said they would introduce the guidelines once again.
“We are going to strictly ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour such as social distancing and masking. Over the next couple of days, we will have a series of meetings with stakeholders like shop owners and traders’ associations. Also, some establishments like salons, spas and gyms will remain closed for now,” said Suhas LY, the Noida district magistrate.
He added that all private offices would have to set up a mandatory Covid helpdesk to ensure employees with symptoms don’t come to work. In case of any complaints, strict action would be taken against the companies, the DM said.

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