A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a traveller at Anand Vihar ISBT, in New Delhi on Monday.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a traveller at Anand Vihar ISBT, in New Delhi on Monday.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

Centre’s new Covid-19 guidelines come into effect today: Here’s what’s allowed, what isn’t

The home ministry said that the main focus of the guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of Covid-19, which it said is visible in the steady decline in the number of active cases in the country.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 01, 2020 10:57 AM IST

As the number of cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continue to rise across the country, the Centre has issued a fresh set of guidelines which will come into force from today. These guidelines will remain in force till December 31.

Though the spread of the infection has slowed down, the Union home ministry is still concerned about states where Covid-19 is still posing a challenge. It issued a set of protocols for states and union territories to check the spread of the disease.

Additionally, the Union health ministry too has released a list of recommended measures to ensure compliance to Covid-appropriate behaviour in markets.

Here is the list of Covid-19 guidelines released by home ministry which comes into effect from December 1:

• The Centre has allowed states and union territories to impose local restrictions, such as night curfew, based on their assessment of the situation. However, they cannot impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones without prior consultation with the Centre.

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• The home ministry also said that state governments can consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures in cities where the weekly case positivity rate is more than 10 percent so that the number of employees attending offices at the same time can be reduced.

• It said that local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed.

• The Centre has also given freedom to the state governments to take administrative action against people not following the basic Covid safety measures. These actions include imposition of appropriate fines on persons not wearing face masks or following social distancing in public and work spaces.

• The home ministry guidelines said that 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.

• The latest set of rules emphasise on “surveillance, containment, and caution”. Hence, the home ministry order said that in containment zones, surveillance teams will conduct intensive house-to-house surveillance and quick isolation of Covid-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities or home.

• Covid-19 rules and containment measures prescribed by the health ministry strictly need to be followed in demarcated containment zones. 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, the home ministry guidelines said.

The fresh guidelines come at a time when India’s Covid-19 tally has surpassed 9.4 million. Apart from the home ministry, the health ministry too has released its set of guidelines for behaviour in crowded places like markets. Here’s a look at those guidelines:

• The standard operating procedures (SOPs) for markets issued by the health ministry on Monday stated that online booking of groceries and doorstep delivery of those must be encouraged while incentives or discounts for those who shop during non-peak hours may be considered.

• The SOPs further outlined that market places in containment zones shall remain closed. Shop owners and employees living in containment zones shall not be allowed entry into marketplaces, it stated.

• Covid-appropriate behaviour in marketplaces may be regulated by market associations through a number of measures, including creation of a sub-committee for each market to facilitate and monitor implementation of such behaviour in marketplaces, the ministry said.

• It also suggested setting up mask dispensing kiosks at government-approved rates at entry points of markets and parking lots, establishing hand washing stations in public utility areas while recommending use of foot operated taps and contactless soap dispensers.

• Mass thermal screening at the entry and access points to the market, thermal guns, sanitisers and placement of signages regarding Covid appropriate behaviour at prominent locations are the other measures mentioned by the health ministry in its guidelines.

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