‘Implement focused containment measures’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 29, 2021

The Home Ministry directive will be applicable till May 31   -  FARIHA FAROOQUI

Home Ministry directs States/UTs to follow Health Ministry’s advisory

Faced with a daily rise of over 3 lakh new Covid-19 infections, the Union Home Ministry on Thursday directed the States/Union Territories to immediately implement the Health Ministry’s April 25 advisory on implementing “intensive, local and focused containment measures” in specific districts/cities/areas identified on a prescribed criterion. This Home Ministry directive will be applicable till May 31.

‘Two parameters’

To help States identify such areas, the Union Health Ministry had on April 25 suggested a broad framework that comprised two parameters — test positivity and bed occupancy. It had asked States to identify districts where either the test positivity had been more than 10 per cent or more in the last one week; or, where bed occupancy was more than 60 per cent. A district fulfilling any of the two criteria should be considered for taking the “intensive and local containment measures”, the health ministry had said.

It may be recalled that the government on Sunday issued fresh guidelines to the States and Union Territories on how to demarcate containment zones in districts reporting either more than 10 per cent positivity in a week or where 60 per cent of oxygen and ICU beds are already occupied.

These guidelines insist on the States to appoint a senior official as nodal officer who would work closely with the District Collector or Municipal Commissioner to deal with the situation.

The States were told to classify districts requiring intensive action and local containment on a weekly basis and the information should be made available online, apart from publicising in the media.

The areas requiring intensive action and local containment connote specific and well-defined geographical units such as cities, towns, parts of the towns, district headquarters, semi-urban localities, municipal wards, or panchayat areas, the statement said.

Night curfews

According to the statement, there should be night curfew in containment zones and the local administration will have the power to decide on the duration of curfew.

Any social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious, festival-related gatherings shall be prohibited. Marriage functions cannot have more than 50 participants while only 20 people can attend funerals. Besides, all shopping complexes, cinema halls, restaurants, bars, sports complexes, gym, spas, swimming pool and religious places will remain closed.

However, essential services and activities such as healthcare services, police, fire, banks, electricity, water and sanitation, and regulated movement of public transport can continue. Public transport (railways, metros, buses, cabs) would operate at a maximum capacity of 50 per cent. There shall be no restrictions on inter-State and intra-State movement including transportation of essential goods.

Published on April 29, 2021

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