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Covid-19 pandemic

Number of vaccine beneficiaries reach 23.5 lakh in India. (Photo: Pixabay)

What will change from February amid Covid-19 pandemic

With India’s coronavirus recovery rate now reaching 97% – one of the highest globally – and the number of vaccine beneficiaries now reaching 23.5 lakh in the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued fresh guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution against the Covid-19 pandemic, effective for 1 to 28 February 2021.

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The Guidelines are aimed at consolidating the substantial gains visible in a consistent decline in the number of active and new cases over the last four months. And to fully overcome the pandemic, there is a need to maintain caution and follow the prescribed strategy.

Fresh surveillance and containment guidelines

  • Containment Zones, if required, shall be carefully demarcated by the district authorities at the micro-level.
  • Local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed.

Need to observe COVID appropriate behaviour

  • State/ UT Governments shall take all necessary measures to promote the wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.

Strict adherence to SOPs against Covid-19 pandemic

  • All activities have been permitted outside Containment Zones, except for the following, which will be subject to strict adherence of SOPs.
  • Social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings have already been permitted up to a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces.

Also Read: India’s battle against Covid-19: Where do we stand now

Cinema halls and theatres

Cinema halls and theatres have already been permitted up to 50% of seating capacity. Now they will be permitted to operate at higher seating capacity, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in consultation with MHA.

Swimming pools

Swimming pools have already been permitted for use of sportspersons. Now swimming pools will be permitted for use of all, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S) in consultation with MHA. 

Exhibition halls

Business to Business (B2B) exhibition halls have already been permitted. Now all types of exhibition halls will be permitted, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce in consultation with MHA.

International air travel

For further opening up of international air travel of passengers, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) may take a decision in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) based on the assessment of the situation.

Trains, schools, parks and gyms

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SOPs, as updated from time to time, have been prescribed for various activities. These include movement by passenger trains; air travel; metro trains; schools; higher educational institutions; hotels and restaurants; shopping malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks; yoga centres and gymnasiums, etc.

These SOPs shall be strictly enforced by the authorities concerned, who shall be responsible for their strict observance.  

Movement of persons and goods

There shall be no restrictions on the 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.

Protection of 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 take necessary precautions.

Aarogya Setu against Covid-19 pandemic

The use of Aarogya Setu mobile App will continue to be encouraged.