Govt announces new Covid guidelines from 1 Dec, states to enforce strict containment measures
States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, to contain the spread of COVID-19 Authorities may consider administrative actions, including the imposition of appropriate fines, on persons not wearing face masks in public and work spaces, MHA added
Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in some states of the country and the Central government's efforts to contain the spread, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order Wednesday with guidelines for surveillance, containment, and caution, which will be effective from December 1, 2020, and to remain in force till the end of the month.
MHA also mandated states to strictly enforce containment measures, SOPs on various activities, and COVID-Appropriate behavior and exercise caution, and regulate crowds.
"The main focus of the guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of COVID-19 which is visible in the steady decline in several active cases in the country," the ministry said in a statement.
Local district, police, and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed. States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Here is a lowdown on the new guidelines issued by the Centre:
Surveillance and Containment
States/ UTs to ensure careful demarcation of containment zones by the district authorities, at the micro-level, taking into consideration the guidelines prescribed by MoHFW in this regard.
Within the demarcated Containment Zones, containment measures, as prescribed by MoHFW, shall be scrupulously followed, which includes:
-Only essential activities shall be allowed in the Containment Zones.
-There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining the supply of essential goods and services.
-There shall be intensive house-to-house surveillance by surveillance teams formed for the purpose.
-Testing shall be carried out as per the prescribed protocol.
-Listing of contacts shall be carried out in respect of all persons found positive, along with their tracking, identification, quarantine, and follow-up of contacts for 14 days (80 percent of contacts to be traced in 72 hours).
-Quick isolation of COVID-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities/ home (subject to fulfilling the home isolation guidelines).
-Clinical interventions, as prescribed, shall be administered.
-Surveillance for ILI/ SARI cases shall be carried out in health facilities or outreach mobile units or through fever clinics in buffer zones.
-Awareness shall be created in communities on COVID-19 appropriate behavior.
-Local district, police, and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed and State/ UT Governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard.
The ministry also directed that states and UTs government shall take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behavior and to ensure strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing.
To enforce the core requirement of wearing face masks, States and UTs may consider administrative actions, including the imposition of appropriate fines, on persons not wearing face masks in public and workspaces.
For observance of social distancing in crowded places, especially in markets, weekly bazaars, and public transport, MoHFW will issue an SOP, the statement further read.
National Directives for COVID-19 Management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, to enforce COVID-19 appropriate behavior.
Strict adherence to the prescribed SOPs
All activities have been permitted outside Containment Zones, except for the following, which have been permitted with certain restrictions:
-International air travel of passengers, as permitted by MHA.
-Cinema halls and theatres, with up to 50 percent capacity.
-Swimming pools, only for the training of sportspersons.
-Exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes.
-Social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings, with upto a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the ground/ space in the view, in open spaces.
"However, based on their assessment of the situation, State/ UT Governments may reduce the ceiling to 100 persons or less, in closed spaces," MHA further said,
States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as night curfew.
However, the state governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government, clarified the ministry in its order.
States and UTs also need to enforce social distancing in offices. In cities, where the weekly Case Positivity Rate is more than 10%, states concerned shall consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures, to reduce the number of employees attending office at the same time, thereby ensuring social distancing.
No restriction on Inter-State and intra-State movement
There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods including those for cross-land-border trade under Treaties with neighboring countries. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.
Protection for vulnerable persons
Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.
Use of Aarogya Setu
The use of the Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.
Meanwhile, India reported 44,376 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the number of cases so far to 92,22,217, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday.
The total cases in the country now stands at 92,22,217 including 86,42,771 recoveries and 4,44,746 active cases. With 480 new deaths, the cumulative toll reached 1,34,218.
The country reported 481 deaths due to the disease in the last 24 hours.
Today is the 18th day when India reported less than 50,000 cases in a day. The last time daily new cases crossed the 50,000-threshold was on November 7.
With 6,224 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, Delhi reported the highest daily tally among states.