Centre allows local restrictions

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New Delhi: Amid a spurt in coronavirus cases in some regions, the Centre on Wednesday said states and Union territories can impose local restrictions like night curfew to check the spread of COVID-19 but made it clear that they will have to consult it before imposing any lockdown outside the containment zones.

While issuing guidelines for “Surveillance, Containment and Caution” for December, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also said that the listing of contacts shall be carried out in respect of all persons found positive, along with their tracking, identification, quarantine and follow up for 14 days and 80 per cent of contacts should be traced within 72 hours.

Quick isolation of COVID-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities and home, subject to fulfilling the home isolation guidelines, and clinical interventions, as prescribed, shall be administered, the guidelines said. The ministry said that the state and UT

governments shall take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and to ensure strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.

To enforce the core requirement of wearing of face masks, states and UTs may consider administrative actions, including the imposition of appropriate fines on persons not wearing face masks in public and workspaces it said. The MHA said the main focus of the directive is to consolidate the substantial gains, which are visible in the steady decline in the number of active cases in the country.

“States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as night curfew. However, state and UT governments shall not impose any local lockdown (state/ district/ sub-division/city level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the central government,” the guidelines said. The guidelines will be effective from December 1 to December 31. PTI