Implement local, focused containment framework: MHA to states and UTs

New Delhi: Issuing a fresh order on Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked all states and Union Territories to implement an intensive, local and focused containment framework, stressing specific districts and areas to break the chain of transmission.

A communication to all states and UTs emphasized on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's advisory, issued on Sunday over the containment strategy and said the district authorities should be sensitized on the strategy for imposing restrictions and it should be widely disseminated to the public and the field functionaries for their effective implementation.

First, the Centre has asked states to impose restrictions for at least 14 days if the positivity rate in an area is more than 10 per cent for more than a week, and if 60 per cent of hospital beds – both oxygen or non-oxygen beds – are occupied by COVID patients.

As the Coronavirus transmits through the human host, individual actions such as wearing masks, maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others, sanitizing one's hands frequently and not attending any mass gathering have to be strictly observed.

Quarantine and test individuals suspected to be positive including contacts of SARC-CoV-2 positive persons, SARI cases, persons with flu-like symptoms etc and ensure that they are not mobile and thus able to spread the infection. Isolate all those who are positive, trace their contacts, quarantine and test them, the MHA said.

Also, where there are clusters of cases, simply quarantining individuals or families will not help. In that case, containment zones with clear boundaries and stringent controls will be required to ensure that the infection does not spread outside, the order reiterated.

As a large part of the country battling a second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla expressed concern over a sharp increase in coronavirus infection cases observed along with a high positivity rate. Considering this unprecedented spike, he said, there is an urgent need for states and UTs to consider strict COVID management and control measures, in the surge areas to bring the situation under control.

For the containment zones, movement of individuals shall be strictly prohibited during the curfew period, whether it is a night curfew, except for essential activities. The Centre has also asked that the local administration shall decide the duration of the night curfew hours and issue orders, in the entire area of their jurisdiction, under appropriate provisions of law, such as under Section 144 of CrPC, and ensure strict compliance.

Social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious/festival related and other gathering and congregations shall be prohibited.

Marriages will be attended by up to 50 persons and funerals will be attended by up to 20 persons. All shopping complexes, cinema halls, restaurants and bars, sports complexes, gym, spas, swimming pool and religious places should remain closed during curfew.

The Centre has said that there should be no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state movement including the transport of essential goods. And, there is no indication of a national lockdown as of now.

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