MHA allows States, UTs to impose night curfew, but says no to lockdown

New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today allowed States and UTs to impose night curfew as a local restriction to prevent the spread of Covid-19 after assessing the situation. However, the MHA added State and UT Governments will not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government.

While issuing guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution effective from December 1, 2020 up to December 31, 2020, the MHA added States and UTs need to enforce social distancing in offices.

“In cities, where the weekly Case Positivity Rate is in more than 10 percent, States and UTs concerned shall consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures, with a view to reduce the number of employees attending office at the same time, thereby ensuring social distancing,” the guidelines read.

The MHA allowed all activities outside Containment Zones, except for the following, which have been permitted with certain restrictions:

  • International air travel of passengers, as permitted by MHA.
  • Cinema halls and theatres, with up to 50 percent capacity.
  • Swimming pools, only for training of sports persons.
  • Exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes.
  • 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 persons in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the ground/ space in view, in open spaces. However, based on their assessment of the situation, State/ UT Governments may reduce the ceiling to 100 persons or less, in closed spaces.

The MHA also asked States/ UTs to ensure careful demarcation of Containment Zones by the district authorities, at the micro level, taking into consideration the guidelines prescribed by MoHFW in this regard. The list of Containment Zones will be notified on the websites by the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs. This list will also be shared with MoHFW.

  • Within the demarcated Containment Zones, these containment measures will be followed:
    Only essential activities shall be allowed in the 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.
  • There shall be intensive house-to-house surveillance by surveillance teams formed for the purpose.
  • Testing shall be carried out as per prescribed protocol.
  • Listing of contacts shall be carried out in respect of all persons found positive, along with their tracking, identification, quarantine and follow up of contacts for 14 days (80 percent of contacts to be traced in 72 hours).
  • Quick isolation of COVID-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities/ home (subject to fulfilling the home isolation guidelines).
  • Clinical interventions, as prescribed, shall be administered.
  • Surveillance for ILI/ SARI cases shall be carried out in health facilities or outreach mobile units or through fever clinics in buffer zones.
  • Awareness shall be created in communities on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.
  • 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 ministry further stated 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.

Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, have been advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

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