New COVID-19 guidelines come into effect: 10 things to know

States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as night curfew, MHA said


The Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) fresh set of COVID-19 guidelines come into effect from today (December 1) and they will be in force till December 31.

On Tuesday, India’s coronavirus caseload rose to 94.62 lakh with 31,118 new infections being reported in a day, while the recoveries surged to 88,89,585, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data. The death toll was 1,37,621 after 482 more fatalities.

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“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 number of active cases in the country,” the MHA had said while issuing the “Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution” on November 25.

Here are MHA’s new COVID guidelines from December 1 to 31.

1. Within the demarcated containment zones, containment measures, as prescribed by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), shall be followed which includes: 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.

2. 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.

3. All activities have been permitted 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 upto 50% capacity; swimming pools, only for training of sports persons.

4. Exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes. Social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings, with upto a maximum of 50% 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.

5. However, based on their assessment of the situation, State/ UT Governments may reduce the ceiling to 100 persons or less, in closed spaces.

6. For the information of all, the Guidelines enclose a list of 19 SOPs that have been issued from time to time to regulate the activities that have been permitted. These SOPs shall be strictly enforced by the authorities concerned, who shall be responsible for their strict observance.

7. States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as night curfew. However, State/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government.

8. States and UTs also 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.

9. 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.

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

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