The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued new guidelines for containing COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The guidelines will be effective from February 1 and will be in force till February 28.
Activities related to social, religious, sports gatherings; cinema halls and theatres; use of swimming pools; exhibition halls; and air travel have been permitted outside the containment zones as per the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the concerned state/UT governments and ministries, the order said.
"There shall 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," it said.
The ministry asked the governments of states and union territories (UT) to take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and ensure wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.
"The number of active cases of COVID-19 have been declining steadily over the last four months. However, with a view to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of COVID-19, and to fully overcome the pandemic, there is a need to maintain caution and strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy, focussed on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines," the MHA said in an order.
It asked district authorities to demarcate containment zones as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The local administration will have to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed.
The ministry also asked to ensure use of 'Aarogya Setu' app "on best effort basis" to ensure timely provision of medical assistance to individuals at risk. People violating the guideline measures will be liable to be proceeded under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Indian Penal Code and other legal provisions, the order said.