Coronavirus Covid-19 new guidelines are out! The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a new set of guidelines for surveillance, containment, and caution. Governments and administrations in states or UTs have been directed to strictly enforce containment measures, Standard operating procedures (SOPs) on various activities, and COVID-19 appropriate behavior and exercise caution and regulate crowds. The new Covid-19 guidelines allowed only essential activities in Containment Zones. Local district, police, and municipal authorities must ensure that prescribed Containment measures strictly adhere, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.
The new guidelines came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Chief Ministers and raised concerns over recent negligence by common people regarding following the Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and norms. The guidelines will be effective from December 1, 2020 and to remain in force up to December 31, 2020.
Governments in states and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as night curfew. However, state/ UT governments must not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government, the MHA guidelines stated.
Restrictions in Offices
States and UTs also need to enforce social distancing in offices. In cities, where the weekly Case Positivity Rate is in more than 10 percent, States and UTs concerned must consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures, with a view to reducing the number of employees attending office at the same time, thereby ensuring social distancing, as per the MHA guidelines.
Activities permitted outside Containment Zones
Cinema halls and theatres will remain open with up to 50 percent capacity. Swimming pools will remain open only for the training of sportspersons. Exhibition halls, only for business to business purposes. Social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural, religious gatherings, are allowed with up to 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 or space in the view, in open spaces. However, based on their assessment of the situation, State and UT Governments may reduce the ceiling to 100 persons or less, in closed spaces, according to the MHA guidelines.
No travel restriction on Inter-State and intra-State movement
There must be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods including those for cross-land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements, the MHA guidelines stated.
A strict perimeter control must be deployed 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. Intensive house-to-house surveillance, Covid-19 testing must be carried out as per prescribed protocol. Listing of contacts must be carried out in respect of all persons found Covid-19 positive, along with their tracking, identification, quarantine and follow-up of contacts for 14 days. Around 80 percent of contacts to be traced in 72 hours, the MHA said in a statement. There should be quick isolation of COVID-19 patients in treatment facilities/ home subject to fulfilling the home isolation guidelines). Clinical interventions, as prescribed, must be administered.
COVID-19 appropriate behaviour
Governments in states or UTs must 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. Governments in states and UTs may consider administrative actions, including the imposition of appropriate fines, on persons not wearing face masks in public and workspaces.