Centre issues new guidelines as second wave of COVID looms

States and UTs asked to focus on testing, tracking and treating; district-level lockdowns likely

COVID-19
A medic collects samples from a person for COVID-19 rapid antigen testing | File Photo: PTI

With India on the cusp of a second wave of COVID-19, the government on Tuesday announced fresh guidelines to tackle the pandemic, and urged states and Union territories to focus on testing, tracking and treating cases.

As the number of new infections surges, the Ministry of Home Affairs said restrictions could be imposed at district / sub-district and city /  ward level, but ruled out statewide lockdowns. It also said there will be no bar on the interstate and intrastate movement of people and goods. Several districts and cities in the country are going under fresh lockdown in view of the rising cases.

Also read: India anticipates second COVID wave on anniversary of first lockdown

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The guidelines come into effect on April 1 and will remain in place for the whole month.

“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,” the ministry said. “No separate permission / approval / e-permit will be required for such movements.

Most of the new orders have been derived from the recent discussion held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the heads of states and UTs.

Also read: COVID 2.0: Can the country cope with another lockdown?

“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 said.

The government admitted that the pace of vaccination is uneven and the slow pace in some states is a matter of concern. “Vaccination against COVID-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission,” it said.

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