Guidelines for effective control of COVID-19 [As per Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I (A) dated 23rd March, 2021]
Government of India
Ministry of Home Affairs
North Block, New Delhi- II000I
Dated 23rd March, 202I
Whereas, an Order of even number dated 27.01.2021 was issued for containment of COVID-19 in the country, for a period upto 28.02.2021, which was further extended for a period upto 31.03 .2021 vide an Order of even number dated 26.02.202 I ;
Whereas, in exercise of the powers under section 6(2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has directed the undersigned to issue an order with guidelines for containment of COVID- 19 in the country;
Now therefore, in exercise of the powers, conferred under Section 10(2)(1) of the Disaster Management Act 2005, the undersigned hereby directs that guidelines for effective control of COVID- 19, as annexed, will be in force upto 30.04.2021.
Union Home Secretary and, Chairman,
National Executive Committee (NEC)
Guidelines for effective control of COVID-19
[As per Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I (A) dated 23rd March, 2021]
The coordinated effort of Central and State/UT agencies has resulted in a sustained decline in the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country, continuously for about 5 months. A fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, in some parts of the country, however, is a cause of concern. At this juncture, the substantial gains achieved against the spread of COVID-19 need to be consolidated, and the chain of transmission of the pandemic effectively broken, with a view to expeditiously restore complete normalcy.
With the last guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 27.1.2021, all economic and other activities have been opened up in a phased manner, with the stipulation that the prescribed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) be scrupulously followed. In order to ensure that the resumption of activities is successful, it is imperative to strictly enforce the Test- Track-Treat protocol in all parts of the country; ensure that COVID appropriate behaviour is scrupulously observed by everyone; and, the ongoing vaccination drive – the largest in the world – is scaled up rapidly, to cover all the target groups.
The following guidelines are issued to be effective from 1st April, 2021.
Effective enforcement of the Test-Track-Treat protocol Test
1. With sustained effort, the capacity of total daily tests that can be conducted across the country has gone up substantially. There is need to ensure that the tests being conducted are uniformly distributed across all districts, with adequate testing to be done in districts reporting higher number of cases. The proportion of RT-PCR tests in the total mix should be scaled up, on best effort basis, to 70% or more. States and UTs, where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less, should rapidly increase testing through this protocol, to reach the prescribed level.
2. The new positive cases detected as a result of intensive testing need to be isolated/ quarantined at the earliest; and, their contacts have to be traced at the earliest, and similarly isolated/ quarantined. Containment Zones, accordingly, have to be demarcated, and prescribed containment measures implemented within such Zones.
3. Effective demarcation of Containment Zones, in vulnerable and high incidence areas, is key to breaking the chain of transmission and controlling the spread of the virus. 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. The list of Containment Zones will be notified on the websites by the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs. This list will also be shared with MoHFW on a regular basis.
4. Within the demarcated Containment Zones, containment measures, as prescribed by MoHFW, shall be scrupulously followed, as under:
i. Only essential activities shall be allowed in the Containment Zones.
ii. There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure 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.
iii. There shall be intensive house-to-house surveillance by surveillance teams formed for the purpose.
iv. Testing shall be carried out as per prescribed protocol.
v. Listing of contacts shall 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% of contacts to be traced in 72 hours).
vi. Surveillance for ILI/ SARI cases shall be carried out in health facilities or outreach mobile units or through fever clinics in buffer zones.
vii. It shall be the responsibility of local district, police and municipal authorities to ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed. State/ UT Governments shall ensure accountability of the officers concerned in this regard.
5. Quick isolation of COVID-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities/ home (subject to fulfilling the home isolation guidelines).
6. Clinical interventions, as prescribed, shall be administered. Capacity building of health workers and professionals shall be an ongoing exercise, to be conducted at all levels, with a view to ensure that the prescribed clinical management protocol is understood clearly and administered accordingly.
7. The concerned agencies -of the Central and State/ UT Governments -shall ensure adequate availability of COVID dedicated ,health and logistics (including ambulatory) infrastructure, based on their assessment of the case trajectory.
8. Effective infection prevention and control practices shall be followed in treatment facilities and by health care workers and professionals.
COVID appropriate behavior
9. State/ UT Governments shall take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. Strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing must be ensured.
10. Wearing of face masks is an essential preventive measure. In order to enforce this core requirement, States and UTs may consider administrative actions, including imposition of appropriate fines, on persons not wearing face masks in public and work spaces.
11. Observance of social distancing in crowded places, especially in markets, weekly bazaars and public transport, is also critical for containing the spread of the infection. SOP issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to regulate crowds in market places, shall be strictly enforced by States and UTs.
12. SOPs for regulating travel in aircrafts, trains and metro rails are already in place, which shall be strictly enforced. States and UTs shall issue necessary guidelines for regulating travel in other modes of public transport, e.g., buses, boats etc., and ensure that these are strictly complied with.
13. The National Directives for COVID-19 Management, as specified in Annexure I, shall be strictly followed throughout the country.
Strict adherence to the prescribed SOPs
14. 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, etc.
15. The SOPs, as updated from time to time, shall be strictly enforced by the authorities concerned, who shall be responsible for their strict observance.
16. Government of India has launched the world’s largest vaccination drive against COVID-19. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) provides guidance on prioritization of population groups, procurement & inventory management, and vaccine selection delivery and tracking. The recommendations of NEGVAC are considered and finalized by the Central Government.
17. While the vaccination drive is proceeding smoothly, the pace is uneven across different States and UTs; and, the slow pace of vaccination in some States/ UTs is a matter of concern. Vaccination against COVID-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission. Therefore, all State/ UT Governments should rapidly step up the pace of vaccination, to cover all priority groups, as recommended by NEGVAC and approved by the Central Government, urgently and in an expeditious manner.
18. States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions at district/ sub-district and city/ ward level, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19.
19. 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 neighboring countries. No separate permission/ approval/ e permit will be required for such movements.
Protection of vulnerable persons
20. Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to take necessary precautions.
Use of Aarogya Setu
21. Use of Aarogya Setu may continue on best effort basis on compatible mobile phones. This will facilitate timely provision of medical attention to those individuals who are at risk.
Strict enforcement of the guidelines
22. All the District Magistrates shall strictly enforce the above measures. For the enforcement of social distancing, State/ UT Governments may, as far as possible, use the provisions of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973.
23. Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 88 of the IPC, and other legal prov1s10ns as applicable . Extracts of these penal provisions are at Annexure II.
Union Home Secretary
and, Chairman, National Executive Committee