Stricter Rules Listed for Containment Zones Listed in Centre’s Fresh Covid-19 Guidelines; States Empowered with Imposing Local Restrictions

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The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday announced fresh guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution on account of a rising number of COVID-19 cases. The guidelines will be effective from December 1, 2020, and to remain in force up to December 31, MHA said.

According to the home ministry, the new guidelines will mainly focus on consolidating the substantial gains that have been achieved till now in curbing the spread on Covid-19. The states have now been empowered with imposing local restriction, including night curfews. “States and union territories (UTs), based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, with a view to containing the spread of Covid-19 such as night curfew,” the home ministry said in a release.

However, state and UT governments are not allowed to impose local lockdowns outside of containment zones without prior consultation with the central government, according to the release. In the Containment Zones, only essential activities will be allowed. The States and UTs have been tasked carefully demarcating Containment Zones through district authorities, at the micro-level, which should be in line with the guidelines prescribed.

“Keeping in view the recent spike in new cases in a few States/ UTs, ongoing festival season and onset of winter, it is emphasised 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/ SOPs issued by MHA and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW)”, said a statement from the MHA.

The fresh guidelines come at a time when India’s Covid-19 tally has surpassed 9.22 million with 444,746 active cases. While the virus has claimed 134,699 lives, as many as 8,642,771 have recovered from the disease.

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