The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Wednesday issued a new order with details about the COVID-19 guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution, which comes into effect from February 1, 2021 and will be in effect throughout the month. As the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to drop across the country, the new measures are focused at fully recovering from the pandemic.
MHA said that containment zones will be demarcated by the district authorities at the micro-level and the containment measures, as prescribed by MoHFW shall be scrupulously followed.
"Local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed and State/ UT Governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard," the order stated.
The order further states that all state and UT governments will actively promote COVID-19 appropriate behavior and ensure the wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.
Strict adherence to the prescribed SOPs
Here's a look at the complete COVID-19 guidelines issued by the MHA.
All activities have been permitted outside Containment Zones, except for the following, which will be subject to strict adherence of SOPs, as indicated below:
- Social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings have already been permitted upto a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the ground/ space in view, in open spaces. Now such gatherings will be allowed subject to SOP of the State/ UT concerned.
- Cinema halls and theatres have already been permitted upto 50% of seating capacity. Now they will be permitted to operate at higher seating capacity, for which a revised SOP will be issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in consultation with MHA.
- Swimming pools have already been permitted for use of sports persons. Now swimming pools will be permitted for use of all, for which a revised SOP will be issued by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S) in consultation with MHA.
- Business to Business (B2B) exhibition halls have already been permitted. Now all types of exhibition halls will be permitted, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce in consultation with MHA.
- For further opening up of international air travel of passengers, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) may take a decision in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) based on the assessment of the situation.
- SOPs, as updated from time to time, have been prescribed for various activities. These include: movement by passenger trains; air travel; metro trains; schools; higher educational institutions; hotels and restaurants; shopping malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks; yoga centres and gymnasiums, etc. These SOPs shall be strictly enforced by the authorities concerned, who shall be responsible for their strict observance.
- 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.
- 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.
- The use of Aarogya Setu mobile App will continue to be encouraged.