India's union ministry of home affairs on Wednesday released a fresh set of guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The fresh norms will be effective from December 1, 2020 and will remain in place till December 31.
In line with home minister Amit Shah's call for "dynamic containment zones" during the chief minister's meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the Covid-19 situation in the country, his ministry has asked states and Union Territories to ensure demarcation of containment zones by the district authorities at the micro level.
Covid-19 rules and containment measures prescribed by the health ministry strictly need to be demarcated containment zone. 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, the MHA said in statement.
Surveillance teams will conduct intensive house-to-house surveillance and quick isolation of Covid-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities or home, it added.
The Centre has also allowed states to impose local restrictions, including night curfews to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. The states, however, cannot impose any local lockdown, outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the central government.
It has also told states to ensure social distancing in workplaces. "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," it said in a statement.
The home ministry said that the main focus of the guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of Covid-19, which it said is visible in the steady decline in the number of active cases in the country.
The fresh guidelines when India's Covid-19 tally has surpassed 9.22 million with 444,746 active cases. While the virus has claimed 134,699 lives, as many as 8,642,771 have recovered from the disease.