Centre issues fresh guidelines for surveillance and containment of Covid-19

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a review meeting with chief ministers of all states and union territories on the status and preparedness of Covid-19 response and management, and asked them to prepare ground work for roll-out of Covid-19 vaccne delivery, distribution and administration,  the union ministry of home affairs has directed states/UTs to strictly enforce containment measures, SOPs on various activities and Covid-appropriate behaviour.

The directive has been issued in the backdrop of a spike in Ciovid-19 cases in eight states, including Haryana, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal. The modalities of Covid-19 vaccine delivery, distribution and administration were also discussed during the meeting.
Ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued an order directing states and union territories to strictly enforce containment measures, standard operating procedures (SOPs) on various activities and Covid-appropriate behavior and exercise caution and regulate crowds
The Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution will be effective from 1 December 2020 and remain in force till 31 December 2020.
The new guidelines are intended to consolidate the gains that have been achieved against the spread of Covid-19, including the steady decline in number of active cases in the country. Further, keeping in view the recent spike in new cases in a few states/ UTs, ongoing festival season and onset of winter, it is emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic, there is a need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy, focussed on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines/ SOPs issued by MHA and ministry of health and family welfare (MOHFW).
Local district, police and municipal authorities have to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed. States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of Covid-19.
States/ UTs have been directed to ensure careful demarcation of containment zones by the district authorities, at the micro level, taking into consideration the guidelines prescribed by MoHFW in this regard.  The respective district collectors and states/ UTs should prepare a list of containment zones and notify it on the websites and also share the list with MoHFW.
Within the demarcated containment zones only essential activities shall be allowed.
District authorities should ensure strict perimeter control so that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services. 
There should be intensive house-to-house surveillance by surveillance teams formed for the purpose.
Testing should be carried out as per prescribed protocol. 
Listing of contacts should be carried out in respect of all persons found positive, along with their tracking, identification, quarantine and follow-up of contacts for 14 days (80 per cent of contacts to be traced in 72 hours). 
Authorities have been told to ensure quick isolation of Covid-19 patients in treatment facilities/ home (subject to fulfilling the home isolation guidelines) while administering clinical interventions, as prescribed.
Local health facilities, outreach mobile units or fever clinics in buffer zones shold be effectively ued for surveillance of ILI/ SARI cases while also creating awareness in communities on Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.
Local district, police and municipal authorities have been tasked with the of ensuring that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed and state/ UT governments should ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard.
Covid-appropriate behavior
State/ UT governments have been directed to take all necessary measures to promote Covid-19 appropriate behavior and to ensure strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.
In order to enforce the core requirement of wearing of face masks, states and UTs may consider administrative actions, including imposition of appropriate fines, on persons not wearing face masks in public and work spaces. 
Ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) will issue a SOP for observance of social distancing in crowded places, especially in markets, weekly bazaars and public transport, which should be strictly enforced by states and UTs.
The national directives for Covid-19 management willl continue to be followed throughout the country, so as to enforce Covid-19 appropriate behavior.
Subject to strict adherence to the prescribed SOPs, all activities have been permitted outside containment zones, except for the following:
  • International air travel of passengers, as permitted by MHA;
  • Cinema halls and theatres, with up to 50 per cent capacity;
  • Swimming pools, only for training of sports persons;
  • Exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes.
Social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings, with up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the ground/ space in view, in open spaces.
However, based on their assessment of the situation, state/ UT governments may reduce the ceiling to 100 persons or less, in closed spaces.
States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may also impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of Covid-19 such as night curfew. However, state/ UT governments should not impose any local lockdown (state/ district/ sub-division/city level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the central government. 
States and UTs also need to enforce social distancing in offices.  In cities, where the weekly Case Positivity Rate is more than 10 per cent, states and UTs concerned should consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures, with a view to reduce the number of employees attending office at the same time, thereby ensuring social distancing.
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.
Vulnerable persons, ie, persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.