MHA issues new Covid guidelines: What is permitted and what is not?
The Union home ministry on Wednesday issued a fresh set of guidelines with regard to the surveillance, containment and caution in the wake of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic which has affected over 9.22 million people across the country.
The guidelines which will be effective from December 1, were released amid a recent spike in Covid-19 cases across several states and union territories (UTs) after the festivities and start of the winter season. The states and UTs, according to the situation, can impose local restrictions with a view to contain the spread of Covid-19, the home ministry in its release said.
For containment zones, the ministry has only allowed essential activities along with intensive house-to-house surveillance. There will be a strict perimetre placed to ensure there is no movement of people inside or outside the containment zones except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services. Other such regulations include quick isolation of Covid-19 infected patients either at home or at treatment facilities.
The ministry has allowed conduction of all other non-essential activities outside containment zones.
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However, certain activities are only allowed with the following restrictions:
1. International air travel of passengers, as permitted by the Union home ministry (MHA).
2. Cinema halls and theatres, with up to 50 per cent capacity.
3. Swimming pools, only for training of athletes.
4. Exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes.
5. Social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural, religious gatherings with up to a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 people in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the premises in view, in case of open spaces. States and UTs may reduce the ceiling to 100 people or less, in closed spaces.
For all such activities outside the containment zones, states and UTs would be required to follow the Covid-19 appropriate behaviour norms issued by the ministry which are as follows:
1. States and UTs shall take all necessary steps to promote Covid appropriate behaviour and ensure strict enforcement of wearing face masks/coverings, social distancing and hand hygiene.
2. To enforce the most crucial requirement of wearing face masks/coverings, states and UTs may consider administrative actions including imposition of fines for those people who do not follow the regulation in public and work spaces.
3. For observing social distancing in crowded places - mostly in markets, public transports and weekly bazaars - the Union health ministry would issue a Standard of Procedure (SOP) which should be strictly followed by all states and UTs.
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