The guidelines issued by the MHA will be in place from December 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020.

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The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday issued guidelines on COVID-19 surveillance, containment and caution, which will start from December 1, 2020 and will be in place till December 31, 2020. The MHA has said that in addition to guidelines already established last month, states and Union Territories, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, such as a night curfew. However, the MHA has said that state governments shall not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Union government. 

The MHA has also asked states to consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures, with a view to reduce the number of employees attending office at the same time, in cities, where the weekly case positivity rate is in more than 10 percent. Keeping in view the recent spike in new cases in few States/ UTs, ongoing festival season and onset of winter, it is emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic, there is need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed norms, the government has said.

“Local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed and State/ UT Governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard,” the government said. The MHA added that to ensure physical distancing in crowded places, especially in markets, weekly bazaars and public transport, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) will issue a SOP, which shall be strictly enforced. 

The government added that as per last month’s guidelines, social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural and religious gatherings, with upto a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity are being allowed with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the ground or space in view, in open spaces. However, based on their assessment of the situation, the MHA has allowed state governments to reduce the ceiling to 100 persons or less, in closed spaces.

Cinema halls and theatres will continue to remain open with upto 50 percent capacity. Swimming pools will be allowed to be open only for the training of sports persons. Exhibition halls will be allowed only for business to business (B2B) purposes.

There will be no restriction on 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 or e-permit will be required for such movements.

The government has advised vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.