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February 26, 2022

MHA issued Advisory on containment measures for COVID-19

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in Income Tax

MHA issued Advisory on containment measures for COVID-19

Whereas, an Order of even number dated 27th December 2021, was issued to ensure compliance with the containment measures for COVID-19, as conveyed vide Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) DO letter No. Z.28015/318/21-EMR, dated 21st December, 2021, which was further extended for a period upto 28.02.2022 vide Order of even number, dated 27.01.2022;

And whereas, in view of the significant decline in the COVID-19 cases across the country, MoHFW vide D.O. letter No. Z.26015/1/2022-DM Cell, dated 18th February, 2022, has issued an advisory to all the States and Union Territories (UTs), stressing the need to follow a risk assessment based approach on the opening of economic activities;

Whereas, in exercise of the powers conferred under section 6(2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DM Act), the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has directed the undersigned to issue an Order, for containment of COVID-19 in the country;

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers, conferred under Section 10(2)(1) of the DM Act, the undersigned, hereby directs the State/ UT Governments and State/ UT Authorities to implement a risk assessment based approach on the opening of economic activities, as conveyed vide aforesaid MoHFW advisory, dated 18th February, 2022, as per Annexure-I, until 31.03.2022. It is further directed that the National Directives for COVID-19 Management, as specified in Annexure II, shall continue to be followed throughout the country.

Union Home Secretary and, Chairperson, National Executive Committee (NEC)

Annexure-I

Government of India

Department of Health and Family Welfare

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

D.0 No. 26015/1/2022-DMCell 18th February 2022

This is regarding measures that need to be taken in view of the sustained decline in the number of new Covid-19 cases across the country. From time to time, this Ministry has been advising and guiding the States/UTs regarding recommended strategies for testing, surveillance, containment and restrictions keeping in view the District as a unit.

2. Taking into account the significant decline in the Covid-19 cases across the country, the States have been undertaking various measures to reopen economic and social activities. There is a need to follow a risk assessment-based approach on the opening of economic activities without losing the gains made so far in the fight against the virus.

3. In this context, this Ministry’s earlier guidance shared with States/UTs on multiple occasions regarding the recommended strategies for testing, surveillance and containment based restrictions, keeping the District as a unit for decision making, are still valid.

4. Evidence-Based Decision making: At the district level there should be constant review of emerging data based on a sustained and critical level of testing to facilitate decision for restrictions/relaxation based on evidence. Such decisions should be taken at State/UT level after proper analysis of the local situation, such as the emergence of new cases/clusters, case positivity, population affected, the geographical spread of cases & hospital infrastructure preparedness.

5. Broad-based framework for relaxation/restrictions: In order to identify areas where restrictions need to be imposed/continued in districts/areas, the following broad-based framework is provided to aid States UTs: S. No. Parameter Thresholds 1 Test positivity Test positivity of 10% or more in the last week OR 2 Bed occupancy Bed occupancy of more than 40% on either oxygen supported or ICU beds

a) States need to watch the trajectory of cases in particular geographies to ensure that the areas reporting positivity rate above 10% and/or bed occupancy more than 40% on either oxygen supported or ICU beds should undertake required enforcement, containment, and restriction measures.

b) As the case trajectory may vary from State to State and there would be variation in the spread of infection within States also, there is a need to take decisions with respect to containment and restriction measures primarily at the local/sub-national level by concerned State and District Administration.

c) Continued focus on community participation for adherence to Covid Appropriate behavior including proper wearing of mask and physical distancing (2 gaz ki doori), as directed under the national directives for Covid-19 management under Disaster Management Act, will however be important measures to be undertaken across the country.

6. Some of the strategic. areas of intervention focusing on containment, test, track, surveillance, clinical management, vaccination and Covid Appropriate Behaviour to be taken up are as follows:

I. Relaxation in various activities duly following the National Directives for Covid-19 management under Disaster Management Act

i. Focus will be on graded relaxation to support the resumption of economic activities.

ii. Social/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious/festival-related and other gatherings and congregations may be resumed. The decision for allowing these activities shall be taken up by the concerned States duly guided by the principles as enunciated above.

iii. Offline classes can be resumed in academic institutes without any restrictions. However, the school administration may also leverage a hybrid model of imparting education through online and offline modes.

iv. Marriages and funerals/last rites may be allowed.

v. All shopping complexes, cinema halls, restaurants & bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas, swimming pools, and religious places may be allowed to operate at full capacity.

vi. Public transport (railways, metros, buses, cabs) to operate without any capacity restrictions.

vii. There shall be no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state movement including transportation of essential goods.

viii. All offices, both government and private, may function without any capacity restrictions.

ix. All industrial and scientific establishments, both government and private may be allowed.

x. While allowing all such activities, it is imperative that the national directive including use of mask & physical distancing shall be strictly followed in all public places.

xi. The activities as mentioned above are primarily indicative and States/UTs should make a careful analysis of the local situation, areas to be covered, and extent of case positivity and transmission to decide on the relaxations/restrictions. Such decisions by States/UTs must be linked to the local epidemiological situation of Covid-19, based on a sustained critical level of testing and monitoring of case positivity.

II. Testing and surveillance:

States will continue with the strategy of ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate’ and implementation of Covid Appropriate Behavior across the district as the ongoing strategy in managing COVID-19.

a) Ensure sustained critical level of testing as per the testing guidelines.

b) Monitoring of Influenza-like illness (ILI) & SARI cases to be taken up in all Health facilities for early warning signals of the spread of infection.

c) The surge in cases including clustering of cases should be monitored. d) States to ensure continued focus on genomic sequencing of international passengers, collection of samples from sentinel sites (identified health facilities) and local clusters of cases, duly following the guidelines laid by MoHFW to capture early warning signals on variants.

III. Clinical Management

i. States to ensure sufficient availability of dedicated Covid health infrastructure as per the ongoing case trajectory.

ii. Ensure that Home isolation protocol is followed wherever required for asymptomatic and mild cases and specific monitoring shall be continued for high-risk cases.

iii. Non-Covid health services shall also be fully operationalized in all health facilities.

iv. Vaccination: Ensure 100% coverage of left out first and second dose eligible beneficiaries in an accelerated manner. Special focus to be given to those districts where the first & second dose coverage is less than the national average. The door-to-door vaccination campaign need to be strengthened. Similarly, precaution dose & adolescent vaccination shall also be taken up for all eligible people.

As far as schools are concerned, the district administration, in collaboration with school management, may ensure vaccination of all teaching and non-teaching staff.

All activities, like restaurants, gym, spas, sports, swimming pools, etc. considered for resumption of services shall promote 100% vaccination of the eligible staff.

v. Community engagement and Covid Appropriate Behaviour: Ensure advance engagement and information so that there is no misinformation or panic, transparent communication on hospital and testing infrastructure availability, regular press briefings etc. Participation of community backed by strict enforcement is necessary for ensuring Covid Appropriate Behaviour. Evidence-based information shall be regularly made available to the community accordingly

Yours Sincerely,

(Rajesh Bhushan)

To

Chief Secretary/ Administrators of all States/UTs Annexure II NATIONAL DIRECTIVES FOR COVID-19

MANAGEMENT

1. Face covering: Wearing of face cover is compulsory in public places; in workplaces; and during transport.

2. Social distancing: Individuals must maintain an adequate distance in public place and at work places.

3. Spitting in public places will be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed by the State/ UT local authority in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations.

4. Screening & hygiene: Provisions for hand wash or sanitizer will be made at work places.

5. Ventilation: In closed places, proper ventilation should be ensured.

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