The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today issued fresh guidelines after cases of coronavirus infection (Covid-19) in several states accelerated again. These latest guidelines issued to prevent the spread of the corona epidemic will remain in force from 1 December to 31 December.
States will have the right to make decisions like whether or not to impose night curfew according to their local situations. However, without prior discussion with the Centre, they will not be able to take the decision of lockdown outside the containment zones.
Fresh guidelines make states responsible
According to the fresh MHA guidelines, it will be the responsibility of the respective district administrations to exercise all precautions in containment zones. The list of these zones has to be published on the websites of the district collectors and those of the respective states.
It will be the responsibility of the local police, corporation and district administration to ensure compliance of the rules made for containment zones. Governments of the state and union territories will decide the accountability of officers in this regard.
Not more than 200 people allowed at events
Restrictions on cinema halls, theatres, swimming pools etc will continue under the new guidelines. Cinema halls will still run with 50% viewer capacity. Swimming pools will be used only for training professional swimmers for sports events.
According to the fresh MHA guidelines, more than 200 people cannot attend any event — whether they are religious, social, sports, entertainment or educational.
The state governments can limit this number to 100 or even less if they want.
Decisions left to states
States are allowed to take decisions like night curfew according to the situations they face. In cities where the weekly positivity rate of cases is above 10%, the centre recommends working in different shifts in offices, factories, shops etc so that there are not too many employees at a given point of time.
However, states will have to get the approval of the centre for local implementation of lockdowns (at the state, district, subdivision or city level) outside the containment zones. A local administration cannot implement a lockdown without the centre’s approval.
There will be no restriction on the movement of people and goods from one state to another or within any state. No separate permit or e-permit will be required for such movements.
Elderly, children, sick and pregnant women urged to stay home
The union government has advised high-risk people such as persons over 65 years old, people already suffering from serious illnesses, pregnant women and children below 10 years to stay indoors. They should avoid venturing out unless absolutely necessary.
The MHA has asked the state governments to ensure that people put on masks, sanitise their hands and follow the social-distancing norm.
The state government can fix a penalty to be levied on those who venture out without masks. The government will monitor social distancing in crowded areas especially markets, weekly markets and public transport.
Spitting in public places will attract a fine. As far as possible, the emphasis should be on work from home under the latest guidelines to stay in force the whole of December 2020.