Govt Issues Fresh COVID SOPs: What’s New? Change in Travel Rules?
The COVID SOP order with guidelines will be effective from 1 April and remain in force till 30 April.
In light of an exponential surge in COVID cases, the central government on Tuesday, 23 March, issued a "Test-Track-Treat" (TTT) protocol in all parts of the country to ensure observance of pandemic-appropriate behaviour by everyone and to scale up the vaccination drive by covering all the target groups.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued the SOP order with guidelines for effective control of the deadly pandemic, which will be effective from 1 April and remain in force till 30 April.
The main focus of the guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains achieved in containing the spread of COVID, which was visible in the sustained decline in the number of active cases, continuously for about five months.
What are the rules? Here’s all you need to know.
What are the rules for getting a COVID-19 test?
The Centre directed to the states and the UTs to rapidly increase the proportion of RT-PCR tests to reach the prescribed level of 70 percent or more. Therefore, anyone with or without symptoms can get tested in both private and government labs.
It is also advised that the new positive cases, detected as a result of intensive testing, need to be isolated or quarantined at the earliest and provided timely treatment. Further as per the protocol, the contacts of new cases have to be traced at the earliest, and similarly isolated.
What are the new rules in containment zones?
Based on 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 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in this regard, said the Ministry.
The list of containment zones will be notified on the web sites by the respective District Collectors and by the states or UTs. This list will also be shared with MoHFW on a regular basis.
Within the demarcated Containment Zones, containment measures, as prescribed by MoHFW, shall be scrupulously followed, which include strict perimeter control, intensive house-to-house surveillance, contact tracing and surveillance for influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI).
Should I wear a mask even if I am vaccinated?
You must follow the COVID-19 protocols whether you are vaccinated or otherwise, as the pandemic is not yet over.
Keep your mask on, practise social distancing and hand hygiene even if you have had your vaccines.
Is there any restriction on inter-state travel?
There shall 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 or e-permit will be required for such movements.
Should I know about any other rules?
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.
(With inputs from IANS.)
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