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The government of India has launched the world's largest vaccination drive against COVID-19. The second phase of the world's largest vaccination campaign began on 1 March for individuals who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
Amidst the rampant surge in COVID-19 cases worldwide, the Central Government has eased the age limit on vaccination, allowing all those above 45 years in age to get the dose from 1 April.
On 23 March, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued new guidelines for effective control of COVID-19. The states and UTs are mandated to strictly enforce Test-Track-Treat protocol, containment measures, COVID-Appropriate behaviour and SOPs on various activities.
Read on to know the major points from the MHA guidelines for effective control of COVID-19.
New MHA Guidelines For COVID-19 Control
These guidelines are set to be effective from 1 April 2021 and will remain in force till 30 April 2021. The protocol to be followed by the states/UTs is the Test-Track-Treat one and ensure observance of COVID appropriate behaviour by everyone.
- States and UTs, where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less, should increase it to reach the prescribed level of 70 per cent or more.
- The new positive cases, detected because of intensive testing, need to be isolated/ quarantined at the earliest and provided timely treatment.
- And their contacts must be traced at the earliest and similarly isolated/quarantined.
- Based on the positive cases and tracking of their contacts, Containment Zones shall be carefully restricted by the district authorities at the micro-level, considering the guidelines prescribed by the MoHFWin in this regard.
- The list of Containment Zones will be notified on the websites by the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs. This list will also be shared with MoHFW regularly.
- Within the demarcated Containment Zones, containment measures, as prescribed by MoHFW, shall be carefully followed, including strict perimeter control, intensive house-to-house surveillance, contact tracing, surveillance for ILI/ SARI cases etc.
- Local district, police, and municipal authorities shall ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed. State/ UT Governments shall ensure the officers' accountability in this regard.
MHA Guidelines For COVID Appropriate Behaviour
- The state/UTs governments shall take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate workplace behaviour and public, especially in crowded places.
- There should be strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing. For that purpose, States and UTs may consider administrative actions, including the imposition of appropriate fines.
- States and UTs may impose local restrictions at district/ sub-district and city/ ward level.
- There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods.
MHA Guidelines On Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
All activities have been permitted outside Containment Zones, such as the following:
- Movement by passenger trains air travel; metro trains.
- Schools and higher educational institutions.
- Hotels and restaurants, shopping malls, theatres, and entertainment parks.
- Yoga centres and gymnasiums.
- Exhibitions, assemblies and congregations, etc.
On A Final Note...
Experts say that this move that is, easing the age limit by the government, is expected to elevate the inoculation programme in the country.