MHA new Covid guidelines: States asked to increase testing, speed up vaccination

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
March 23, 2021 9:23:22 pm

Covid, IndiaMHA said there is a need to speed up testing across states. (Express photo by Deepak Joshi)

Amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in some parts of the country, the MHA has issued a set of guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus. The guidelines, which will be effective from April 1, have asked states and Union Territories to enforce the ‘test-track-treat’ protocol and laid down containment measures.

The Hime ministry has also said governments should take all necessary measures to promote Covid-appropriate behaviour in workplaces and in public, especially in crowded places.

MHA Guidelines for effective control of COVID-19.

States/ UTs mandated to strictly enforce Test-Track-Treat protocol, Containment measures,COVID-Appropriate behavior and SOPs on various activities.

Press release-https://t.co/adAcSXw3rx

— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) March 23, 2021

The guidelines stated, “States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, at district/ sub-district and city/ ward level, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19… All activities have been permitted outside Containment Zones and SOPs have been prescribed for various activities. These include: movement by passenger trains; air travel; metro trains; schools; higher educational institutions; hotels and restaurants; shopping malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks; yoga centres and gymnasiums; exhibitions, assemblies and congregations.”

Emphasizing the need to speed up testing, the MHA further stated, “States and UTs, where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less, should rapidly increase it, to reach the prescribed level of 70 percent or more. The new positive cases, detected as a result of intensive testing, need to be isolated/ quarantined at the earliestand provided timely treatment. Further as per the protocol, their contacts have to be traced at the earliest, and similarly isolated/ quarantined. Based on the positive cases and tracking of their contacts, Containment Zones shall be carefully demarcated by the district authorities, at the micro level, taking into consideration the guidelines prescribed by the MoHFWin this regard.”

It added, “The SOPs, as updated from time to time, shall be strictly enforced by the authorities concerned, who shall be responsible for their strict observance.”

The government, however, stated there will 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. “No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements,” it said.

The government has decided that everybody above 45 years of age will be eligible for vaccination from April 1. Announcing this, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said, “We request that all eligible should immediately register and get vaccinated.”

So far, only people above 60 years of age and those in the age group of 45-60 with co-morbidities were eligible for vaccination.

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