National

India gearing up for Independence Day celebrations with safety, hygiene protocols

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on August 14, 2020

Police contingent participate in the rehearsals ahead of the 74th Independence Day celebrations   -  PTI

India's 74th Independence Day celebrations will don a new avatar in line with the hygiene and safety protocols mandated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Adequate distancing between seats, masks, temperature checks, meticulous sanitisation and orderly entry and dispersal to avoid queues and crowds, among various other measures, will be strictly followed during the flag hoisting ceremony on Saturday.

The Ministry of Defence is all set for tomorrow's celebrations with a slew of measures as it balances the fine line between “sanctity and dignity” of the national function while ensuring the requisite safety and hygiene measures are implemented.

Members of the Guard of Honour have been under quarantine. Entry for the ceremony will only be through invitation for over 4,000 guests and seating has been planned keeping in mind the norms of social distancing. Masks will obviously be mandatory and guests will need to be prepared for thermal screenings at all entry points. Rigorous sanitisation of the area will be done, hand-sanitisers will be readily available and the Ministry has gone one step ahead and decided to ensure suitable masks are available for distribution.

In a bid to further ensure safety, NCC Cadets, instead of young school children, have been invited to witness the event. Seating enclosures and walkways have been laid with wooden flooring and carpeting to avoid crowding and for seamless movement.

“Additional door frame metal detectors, with adequately spaced markings have been provided to avoid queuing and to ensure smooth passage for all the invitees. Most of the parking areas have been brick lined and paved in order to ensure smooth entry and exit of vehicles to the maximum feasible extent,” an official statement added.

Along with the invitation card, an advisory regarding Covid-19 related guidelines has also been issued, for officials, diplomats, members of the public and media who will be attending the ceremony. A request card for guests to be patient and maintain social distancing after conclusion of the function would also be placed on each seat. An orderly dispersal plan has been put in place.

Ceremonial drills have been planned keeping in mind the social distancing norms and four medical booths will be set up to cater to any guest who is detected with Covid-19 symptoms at the entry. Ambulances would also be stationed at four locations.

Published on August 14, 2020

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