Indian Ministry of Home Affairs Wednesday released a fresh set of guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The fresh norms will be effective from the beginning of next month and will remain in place until Dec. 31.
The ministry has asked states to ensure the demarcation of containment zones by the local authorities.
“The main focus of the guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of COVID-19, which is visible in the steady decline in the number of active cases in the country. Further, keeping in view the recent spike in new cases in few states, ongoing festival season and onset of winter, it is emphasized that to fully overcome the pandemic, there is a need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy, focus on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines issued by the ministry of health,” a statement issued by home ministry said.
The ministry said only essential activities shall be allowed in the containment zones and 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 the supply of essential goods and services.
“There shall be intensive house-to-house surveillance by surveillance teams formed for the purpose, ” the ministry said. “Testing shall be carried out as per prescribed protocol and 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).”
The federal government has also allowed states to impose local restrictions, including night curfews to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, it said lockdown cannot be imposed outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the federal 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 shall consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures, with a view to reducing the number of employees attending office at the same time, thereby ensuring social distancing,” the ministry said.
“In cities, where the weekly Case Positivity Rate is in more than 10 percent, states and union territories shall consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures, with a view to reducing the number of employees attending office at the same time, thereby ensuring social distancing,” it said in a statement.
On Wednesday morning, the federal health ministry said the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has reached 9,222,216 and the death toll has risen to 134,699.