Centre will make COVID-apt behaviour mass movement

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All arms of the government will go on a nationwide Covid-19 awareness ‘mass movement’ following a surge in the pandemic. ‘Dawai bhi, kadai bhi’ and ‘mask nahi, toh service nahi’ will be key to the new drive to be carried out by every government department.

Directions were given to all department secretaries to go on mission mode to amplify Covid-19 awareness and vaccination campaigns at a meeting chaired by the Cabinet Secretary on Tuesday. The Centre’s five-pronged strategy to deal with the merging crisis is ‘testing, tracing, treatment, Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and vaccination’. Saturated messaging, fines and denial of services for not wearing masks are among plans.

The Department of Personnel and Training has said that government employees above 45 should be vaccinated and the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare has been instructed to reach out to retired officials through messages and email to receive vaccination. All states and Union territories have been asked to launch a ‘no mask, no service’ campaign across malls, markets, petrol pumps, gas agencies and shopping complexes to ensure compliance in sites of mass gatherings.

Aside from heavy messaging on flights and railway tickets, boarding passes and airports and railway stations, railway and civil aviation ministries have been asked to impose fines on those not wearing masks. The home ministry will also heavily publicise lists of fines imposed. The department of financial services will bring in Covid-19 messaging across ATMs, bank branches, SMS and email.

The I&B ministry has asked private channels to focus on Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. The ministry has also asked that the scroll on the landing page of every channel carry a message. Star Sports has been nudged to ensure that IPL commentary include Covid-19 messaging. Official vehicles, cinema halls, metro stations, three wheelers, milk booths, passport seva kendras, buses, school boundaries, restaurants, shops, malls, government websites, DD new bulletins and radio spots will give messages on containing the pandemic and vaccination. School teachers, staff at police stations, angwanwadi centres, panchayat bhawans and fire stations will be part of ‘interpersonal communication’ on the same.

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