MHA allows States/UTs to impose local restrictions

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New Delhi, November 26: Amid a spurt in Coronavirus cases in some regions, the Centre on Thursday said the States and Union Territories can impose local restrictions like night curfew to check the spread of virus, but asked them to consult it before imposing any lockdown outside the containment zones.

While issuing guidelines for “Surveillance, Containment and Caution” for December, the MHA said the main focus of the directive is to consolidate the substantial gains which are visible in the steady decline in the number of active cases in the country.

The guidelines said that keeping in view the recent spike in new cases in a few states and 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 strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy.

The containment strategy should be focussed on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines and SOPs issued by the MHA and the Ministry of Health, they said.

“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 and 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,” the guidelines said.

The guidelines will be effective from December 1 to December 31, it added.

The Ministry said that local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed.

State and UT Governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard, the Ministry said.

“States and UTs are mandated to strictly enforce containment measures, SOPs on various activities and COVID-appropriate behavior and exercise caution and regulate crowds,” a home ministry statement said.

According to the guidelines, all activities have been permitted outside Containment Zones except for some which have been allowed with certain restrictions.

These activities are international air travel of passengers, as permitted by MHA, cinema halls and theatres, with up to 50 percent capacity, swimming pools, only for training of sports persons and exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes.

Social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural and religious gatherings in closed spaces are allowed with up to a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity with a ceiling of 200 persons. In open spaces, people will be allowed as per the size of the ground.

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

The guidelines were enclosed with 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, the Ministry said.

Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 caseload went past 92 lakh with 44,376 new cases reported today, while the number of recoveries surged to 86.42 lakh. The death toll has reached 1,34,699 with 481 new fatalities.

The active caseload was 4,44,746 and the number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 86,42,771, pushing the national recovery rate to 93.72 percent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.46 percent.

Of the 1,34,699 deaths reported in the country so far due to the disease, Maharashtra accounts for 46,683, followed by Karnataka (11,695), Tamil Nadu (11,639), Delhi (8,621), West Bengal (8,121), Uttar Pradesh (7,615), Andhra Pradesh (6,956), Punjab (4,653) and Gujarat (3,892).

According to the Health Ministry, more than 70 percent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities. (Agencies).