To fight the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued fresh guidelines for COVID-19.
On the 25th of November, a set of fresh protocols were released for the surveillance, containment and caution against the disease.
The MHA in a statement said, “Keeping view of recent spike in new cases in few States/UTs, in ongoing festival season and onset of winter, it is emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic, there is need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy.”
The guidelines include Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for various places, protocols for human behavior during the pandemic (wearing face masks, use of sanitizer and social distancing,) COVID-19 containment measures, regulations at workplace, guidelines of safe travel inter state and intra state.
The MHA also asked the government of states and UTs to ensure strict COVID-19 guidelines in the containment zones. The respective state government would decide the containment zones in their state/UTs.
Speaking of activities allowed in containment zones, the MHA said only essential activities like medical emergencies, essential communities and necessary services would be allowed.
The local district authority, police and municipal authorities would be responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed.
The accountability of concerned officers would be ensured by the states/UTs government.
Surveillance teams would conduct intensive house to house surveillance and quick isolation of COVID-19 patients at home or institutional care.
In addition, under the fresh guidelines, the MHA also allowed states to impose local restrictions, including night curfews and other restrictions if needed.
However, the state/UT governments could not impose any local lockdown, outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government.
The new guidelines would not dismiss the past unlock phases which allows functioning of restaurants, theatres, swimming pools, religious places, malls, educational institutions, air travel, railways and other allowed services as per SOPs.
The MHA also directed states to ensure social distancing in workplaces. The MHA said, “In cities, where the weekly Case Positivity Rate is in more than 10 percent, 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.”
The new COVID-19 guidelines issued by the MHA would be in effect from the 1st of December and would continue till the 31st of December.
The fresh guidelines came at a time when India’s COVID-19 tally surpassed 9.22 million with 4,44,746 active cases.
While the virus has claimed 134,699 lives, as many as 8,642,771 have recovered from the disease. India currently has a recovery rate more than 94 % and fatality rate at 1.47 %.
Stay tuned for further updates.