Home ministry issues new Covid-19 guidelines, allows swimming pools for all; cinema halls to have higher seating
The Union home ministry on Wednesday issued an order to extend guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) from February 1 to 28. It asked states and union territories to mandatorily enforce containment measures and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on various activities and Covid appropriate behaviour.
The home ministry allowed swimming pools for everyone and higher seating in cinema halls. It further said that revised SOPs will soon be issued by ministry of information and broadcasting.
Cinema halls and theatres were earlier allowed to operate with 50 per cent seating capacity.
The home ministry guidelines say that persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to take necessary precautions.
All the district magistrates have been asked to strictly enforce the above measures for the enforcement of social distancing. "State governments may, as far as possible, use the provisions of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)," the MHA said in the guidelines.
Meanwhile, the government has asked civil aviation ministry to further open up international air travel in consultation with the home ministry.
In the last extension in December 2020, the government had cautioned against the emergence of a new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom.
The home ministry had said that containment zones will have to be demarcated carefully and prescribed containment measures must be strictly followed within these areas. It had also said that Covid-appropriate behaviour must be promoted and strictly enforced and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prescribed in respect of various permitted activities should be followed scrupulously.
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