Centre issues guidelines for effective control of COVID-19 from April 1
The Union Home Ministry has issued an order containing guidelines for effective control of COVID-19 with effect from April 1 and will remain in force up to April 30 due to a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.
The guidelines mandate the state and union territory governments to strictly enforce the Test-Track-Treat protocol and ensure observance of COVID appropriate behaviour by everyone and scale up the vaccination drive to cover all the target groups.
Concerning Test-Track-Treat protocol, the Home Ministry said that states and UTs, where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less, should increase it immediately, to reach the prescribed level of 70 per cent or more.
The new positive cases, detected after intensive testing, need to be isolated and quarantined at the earliest and provided timely treatment.
The Ministry said, as per the protocol, their contacts have to be traced at the earliest and based on the positive cases and tracking of their contacts, containment zones shall be carefully demarcated by the district authorities at the micro-level while, taking into consideration the guidelines prescribed by the Health Ministry.
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Within the demarcated containment zones, they will follow the containment measures, which include strict perimeter control, intensive house-to-house surveillance and contact-tracing.
The local district, police and municipal authorities will be responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed. State governments will ensure the accountability of the officers concerned.
As per the guidelines, state and UT governments will take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in workplaces and public, especially in crowded places.
For strict enforcement of wearing face masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing, states and UTs may consider administrative actions, including the imposition of fines.
States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions at district, sub-district and city/or ward level to contain the spread of COVID-19.
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The guidelines said that 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 or e-permit will be required for such movements.
All activities have been permitted outside containment zones and SOPs have been prescribed for various activities including movement by passenger trains, air travel, metro trains, schools, shopping malls and yoga centres. The authorities will strictly enforce the SOPs, as updated from time to time concerned.
The Home Ministry said that while the vaccination drive is flowing, the pace is uneven across different states and UTs and, the slow pace of vaccination in some states is a matter of concern.
It said vaccination against COVID-19, in the present scenario, is critical to breaking the chain of transmission. The Ministry said that all state and UT governments should rapidly step up the pace of vaccination to cover all priority groups expeditiously.
Meanwhile, the Centre has opened COVID-19 vaccination for everyone above 45 years starting April 1.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar requested all eligible people to immediately register and get vaccinated.