Centre's Omicron Guidelines to States: What Do They Say? Who Can Impose Curbs?
The Union Health Secretary, on Tuesday, issued specific guidelines in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday, 22 December, issued specific guidelines to the state governments – in light of surge in COVID-19 cases induced by the Omicron variant.
The guidelines are based on general measures regarding containment, testing and surveillance, vaccination, etc.
What exactly are the guidelines? Will there be curbs? Here's all you need to know.
Who can impose lockdown?
The Centre has issued guidelines that seek district-level restrictions and containment measures, in areas where the positivity rate is 10 percent or more, or, the district bed occupancy for ICUs (or oxygen supported beds) is 40 percent or more.
However, the health ministry has also stated that the districts can impose restrictions even before reaching this suggested threshold.
Depending on the population density and other factors, the districts can impose required curbs to contain the highly transmissible variant.
What are the suggested containment measures?
The health ministry has suggested imposition of:
Regulations on large gatherings
Injunction against crowding of people in offices, public transport, industries, marriages, funerals, etc.
When new clusters of COVID-19 positive cases are found, containment zones should be declared without any delay, the guidelines said.
What are the rules on testing/surveillance?
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), along with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) issued guidelines regarding the door-to-door testing of vulnerable/comorbid people or those infected with Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI)/ Influenza Like Illness (ILI).
How is the government stepping up medical facilities?
To avoid spread of any misinformation or mass panic, the Centre has instructed to maintain full transparency regarding the medical facilities, infrastructure availability, etc, through press briefings.
It is also to be ensured that COVID-19-appropriate behaviour is monitored strictly.
The Union government has also instructed to activate the emergency operations centres (EOCs) or war rooms for analysing all the surges and trends, and for taking precautionary measures at local levels.
What about those who have been detected with Omicron?
Since the Omicron variant is considered to be at least three times more transmissible than the Delta variant, guidelines state:
The people under home insolation should be monitored very strictly
Customised kits should be provided for them and their monitoring should be carried out through calls from the call centres or through home visits
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