The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday issued fresh COVID-19 guidelines for surveillance, containment, and caution.
The Ministry noted that although the number of active infections has declined from 10 lakh in mid-September to 4.5 lakh now, some states/union territories are witnessing spikes in infections due to the recent festival season, the onset of winter, and laxity in following COVID-19 appropriate behavior.
States/UTs urged to promote COVID-19 appropriate behavior
To consolidate substantial gains that have been achieved in containing COVID-19 so far and fully contain the outbreak, the MHA urged state/UT governments to promote COVID-19 appropriate behavior.
Under the guidelines—valid from December 1-31—the government pushed for strict enforcement of wearing face masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing.
It suggested imposing fines on people who do not wear face masks in public and workplaces.
States/UTs advised to regulate travel by buses, boats, etc.
The MHA said standard operating protocols (SOPs) issued for regulating travel in aircraft, trains, and metro rails must be strictly enforced. Further, it recommended states/UTs to issue necessary guidelines for other modes of travel, such as boats, buses, etc.
Here are the guidelines for workplaces
Work from home should be followed as much as possible.
Work/business hours in offices, workplaces, shops, markets, and industrial/commercial establishments should be staggered.
Provisions for thermal screening, hand-wash, and sanitizer shall be made available at all entry/exit points and common areas.
Workplaces, common places, and all points that come in human contact shall be frequently sanitized.
Social distancing must be followed at the workplace.
Face masks remain compulsory; six-feet distancing to be ensured
Under national directives, face masks are mandatory in public places, workplaces, and during transport. Individuals must maintain at least a six feet distance in public. Shops shall ensure physical distancing among customers. Spitting in public places will attract fines.
Containment zones to be demarcated at ‘micro-level’
Containment zones will be demarcated by district authorities at the “micro-level,” in line with the Health Ministry’s guidelines.
Strict containment will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed.
There shall be no movement of people in/out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and maintaining the supply of essential goods/services.
Stricter rules for containment zones
The guidelines called for strict house-to-house surveillance in containment zones, along with surveillance of ILI/SARI cases, awareness on precautions, and quick isolation of patients.
Testing should be conducted as per protocol.
Contacts should be listed for all persons confirmed as COVID-19 positive. Tracking, identification, quarantining, and follow-up of contacts shall continue for 14 days (80% of contacts must be traced within 72 hours).
Restrictions outside containment zones:
All activities remain permitted outside containment zones. Only the following have restrictions:
International air travel, as permitted by MHA. Cinema halls/theaters with up to 50% capacity. Swimming pools open only for sportspersons’ training. Exhibition halls for business-to-business purposes……Read More>>