With the approaching festive season, the government has issued a fresh set of guidelines to curb the spread of coronavirus. In the new standard operating procedures (SOPs), the government has prohibited festivities within containment zones. Residents of a containment zone would be encouraged to celebrate from the confines of their homes. People above 65 years or below 10 years, those with comorbidities and pregnant women have been advised to stay at home.
"Festive events shall be permitted only outside the containment zones. Organisers/staff/visitors from containment zones shall not be permitted. People residing inside containment zones may be encouraged to observe all festivals inside their homes and not move out," the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said in the SOPs issued on Tuesday.
These guidelines will be effective from October to December that sees a host of festivals including Durga Puja, Diwali, Dussehra and Christmas. These SOPs will be implemented while organising fairs, exhibitions, as well as religious and cultural functions.
DGHS said that in case of events planned to last for multiple days such as exhibitions, fairs, puja pandals, Ramlila pandals, plays, concerts, the organisers must ensure adequate measures to make sure that there's a cap on physical numbers of attendees. The DGHS has also suggested staggered and restricted timings for such celebrations.
There must be ample medical and emergency-care facilities in such functions. The guidelines have also stated that ambulances must be present and COVID-19 awareness activities must be ensured at the venues. Moreover, only specific areas will be identified for such activities.
In order to ensure and monitor compliance of physical distancing, and wearing of masks, circuit cameras would be installed at each venue. "In case of rallies and processions, route planning, identification of immersion sites, ensuring cap on numbers, physical distancing etc. must be planned beforehand and measures for enforcement outlined," stated the guidelines.
The Health Ministry is aiming to ensure that festival crowds do not further spread coronavirus.