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Coronavirus in India: MHA issues fresh COVID-19 guidelines effective from Dec 1; here's the full list

04:51 PM Nov 25, 2020 | FPJ Web Desk

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday released a fresh set of guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution against the novel coronavirus disease. The fresh norms will be effective from December 1 and will remain in place till December 31.

In the guidelines, the states and union territories have been mandated to strictly enforce COVID-19 containment measures, SOPs on various activities and COVID-appropriate behaviour and exercise caution and regulate crowds.

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The MHA has permitted only essential activities in Containment Zones. "Local district, police & municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that containment measures are strictly followed & state/UT govts shall ensure accountability of concerned officers," MHA added.

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Here is the complete set of guidelines:

COVID appropriate behaviour

1. State/UT governments shall take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. Strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing must be ensured.

2. Wearing of face masks is an essential preventive measure. In order to enforce this core requirement, states and UTs may consider administrative actions, including imposition of appropriate fines, on persons not wearing face masks in public and workspaces.

3. Observance of social distancing in crowded places, especially in markets, weekly bazaars and public transport, is also critical for containing the spread of the infection. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) will issue an SOP to regulate crowds in market places, which shall be strictly enforced by states and UTs.

4. SOPs for regulating travel in aircrafts, trains and metro rails are already in place, which shall be strictly enforced. States and UTs shall issue necessary guidelines for regulating travel in other modes of public transport, e.g., buses, boats etc., and ensure that these are strictly complied with.

5. Effective demarcation of Containment Zones, in vulnerable and high incidence areas, is key to breaking the chain of transmission and controlling the spread of the virus. Containment Zones shall be carefully demarcated by the district authorities, at the micro-level.

Guidelines for Containment Zones:

1. Only essential activities shall be allowed.

2. 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 supply of essential goods and services.

3. There shall be intensive house-to-house surveillance by surveillance teams formed for the purpose.

4. 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% of contacts to be traced in 72 hours).

5. Quick isolation of COVID-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities/ home (subject to fulfilling the home isolation guidelines).

6. Awareness shall be created in communities on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

7. It shall be the responsibility of local district, police and municipal authorities to ensure that the containment measures are strictly followed. State/UT governments shall ensure accountability of the officers concerned in this regard.

Outside Containment Zones:

1. International air travel of passengers, as permitted by MHA.

2. Cinema halls and theatres, with upto 50% capacity.

3. Swimming pools, only for training of sports persons.

4. Exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes.

5. Social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings, with up to a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the ground/ space in 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.

Local restrictions:

1. 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 shall not impose any local lockdown (state/ district/ sub-division/city level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government.

2. States and UTs also need to enforce social distancing in offices. In cities, where the weekly Case Positivity Rate is in more than 10%, States and UTs concerned shall consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures, with a view to reduce the number of employees attending office at the same time, thereby ensuring social distancing.

3. 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 neighbouring countries. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.

Protection of vulnerable persons:

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 essential and health purposes.

Coronavirus cases in India:

India's COVID-19 caseload went past 92 lakh mark with 44,376 new cases reported on Tuesday, while the number of recoveries surged to 86.42 lakh, the health ministry said.

The number of total coronavirus cases rose to 92,22,216 in the country, while the death toll due to the disease climbed to 1,34,699 with 481 new fatalities, the ministry's data updated at 8 am showed.

The active caseload shot up to 4,44,746, an increase of 6,079 cases from Tuesday, even though it remained below five lakh for the 15th consecutive day, accounting for 4.82 per cent of the total cases, the data stated.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 86,42,771, pushing the national recovery rate to 93.72 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.46 per cent.

(With PTI inputs)

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