Nagaland eases more Covid-19 curbs; issues guidelines for Durga Puja celebrations
In view of the state’s Covid-19 positivity rate falling under five percent for two consecutive weeks, the Nagaland government has ordered the reopening of more activities as per the recommendation of the chief minister-led state high powered committee (HPC), officials said.
As per the new “unlock” guidelines, social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, political and religious functions and other public gatherings will be permitted outside containment zones beyond 50 percent and up to 100 percent capacity, subject to adherence to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and fulfilment of existing requirements for vaccination or testing.
The government also gave a green signal for the resumption of regular/offline classes for students of all classes in the state starting November 1 should the Covid-19 situation continue to further improve.
Schools for classes 5 to 10 have already resumed from October 1 with 50% attendance subject to adherence to guidelines to be issued by the Home department. Night curfew has also been relaxed by one hour, and will be in force from 10 pm to 4 am till further orders.
Meanwhile, the state government issued a set of guidelines in view of the forthcoming Durga Puja celebrations in the state. According to the guidelines, puja pandals will be allowed to be set up only outside containment zones and the timing for the visit of devotees to the pandals will be restricted to 5 am till 9 pm. The maximum number of persons, including organizers, allowed to gather in the pandals is 50 percent capacity subject to adherence to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour such as maintenance of social distancing, wearing of masks etc.
The organizers are to arrange facilities for hand washing and sanitization at the entrance of puja premises and deploy volunteers/private security to assist the police in ensuring wearing of face masks, social distancing etc, outside the respective puja premises. The organizers should ensure sanitizing the premises before opening and after closing and every six hours during the day, the guidelines said.
All visitors to the puja location will be subject to thermal scanning by puja organizers and no person with any symptom related to Covid-19 would be allowed to enter the puja pandals. In case any person/visitor to puja pandal is suspected to be symptomatic with Covid-19, it shall be the responsibility of the puja organizers to inform the nearest government medical facility and arrange for shifting of such person to that medical facility.
The guidelines also advised persons above 65 years of age, children below 10 years of age, persons with co-morbidities and pregnant women to avoid visiting the puja pandals.
A maximum of 50 persons will be allowed to be a part of any immersion procession and for completing the ritual of immersion, and all concerned should observe Covid-19 appropriate behaviour at all times, the government guidelines added.