IN THE wake of increasing COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued a 19-point Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) giving nod to States and UTs to impose local restrictions if necessary. The SOPs, part of a month-long guidelines issued by the MHA, will be effective from December 1 and will remain in force up to December 31. States and Union Territories (UTs) have been allowed to impose night curfew but “shall not be allowed impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Centre”.
Staggered office timings and other suitable measures shall be implemented in the cities with the positivity rate in 10 per cent so as to ensure social distancing. The MHA has also not restricted any inter-State or intra-State movement. People above 65-years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years have been adivsed to stay home while advising the general public to use Aarogya Setu mobile application. The district authorities have been asked to carefully demarcate containment zones considering prescribed MoHFW guidelines.
The authorities have also been asked to notify the list of containment zones on the website of respective district collectors. While only essential activities shall be allowed in the containment zones, strict perimeter control will be there to ensure that there is no movement of people, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential 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. Listing of contacts shall be carried out in respect of all persons found positive, along with their tracking, identification, quarantine and follow up of contacts for 14 days (80 per cent of contacts to be traced in 72 hours).
Quick isolation of COVID-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities or home (subject to fulfilling the home isolation guidelines). Clinical interventions, as prescribed, shall be administered and surveillance for Influenza-Like Illness or Severe Acute Respiratory Infection cases shall be carried out in health facilities or outreach mobile units or through fever clinics in buffer zones. Awareness shall be created in communities on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed and state or UT governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard.
It is directed to State and UT Governments to take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and to ensure strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing. In order to enforce the core requirement of wearing of face masks, States and UTs may consider administrative actions, including imposition of appropriate fines, on persons not wearing face masks in public and work spaces. For observance of social distancing in crowded places, especially in markets, weekly bazaars and public transport, MoHFW) will issue a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which shall be strictly enforced by States and UTs. All activities have been permitted outside Containment Zones, except for some which have been permitted with certain restrictions-- international air travel of passengers, as permitted by MHA; cinema halls and theatres, with upto 50 per cent capacity; swimming pools, only for training of sports persons; exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes; social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural, religious gatherings, with upto a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces, keeping of the size of the ground in open spaces. However, the MHA said, based on their assessment of the situation, State and UT Governments may reduce the ceiling to 100 persons or less, in closed spaces. The main focus of the guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of the deadly disease which is visible in the steady decline in number of active cases in the country.
Mah exempts on-duty cockpit, cabin crew from mandatory COVID-19 tests
Nov 25 (PTI)
THE Maharashtra Government on Wednesday exempted on-duty cockpit and cabin crew members of all airlines from the mandatory RT-PCR test across airports in the State. The exemption, however, will be subjected to following all necessary COVID-related protocols by the respective airlines, Maharashtra Chief Secretary from mandatory COVID-19 tests Sanjay Kumar said in an order. The exemption was granted after the State Government received a request from the national carrier Air India in this regard, the order stated. In its revised standard operating procedures on preventive measures to check the spread of COVID-19 in the State, issued on November 23, the State Government made it mandatory for all persons seeking to enter the State from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa to carry RT-PCR negative reports amid the rising number of cases in these States.
“The State Government has received a request from Air India stating that it is operating Vande Bharat flights and multiple cargo flights in and out of Maharashtra on a regular basis. “This involves a large number of flight and cockpit crew (pilots and cabin crew) to travel into Maharashtra from various States to either operate or be positioned for flight duties on a daily basis,” the order said. However, as per the guidelines of the State, COVID RT-PCR (Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction) has been made compulsory for all persons arriving at the airport, which leads to delay in scheduling in flights, it said.
“In the light of the above State, it is stated that henceforth all on duty cabin crew and cockpit crew of all airlines carrying valid identity cards be exempted from RT-PCR test at all airports in Maharashtra subject to following of necessary COVID-related protocols by the respective airlines in the said regard,” the order stated. xxxxxxxxx