The Ministry on Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday said the existing COVID-19 guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will continue to remain in effect till March 31.
According to an official statement, the MHA said that there is still a need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution to overcome the pandemic even though there has been a substantial decline in the active and new COVID-19 cases.
Moreover, the states and union territories have also been advised to speed up the vaccination of the target population so as to break the chain of transmission.
It further stated that containment zones will continue to be demarcated carefully with containment measures strictly being followed within these zones. COVID-appropriate behavior also needs to be promoted and strictly enforced along with the SOPs prescribed in respect of various permitted activities followed scrupulously.
Therefore, the focussed approach on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines and SOPs, as envisaged in the guidelines issued on January 27 need to be enforced strictly by states and union territories, it said.
According to existing guidelines, cinema halls and theatres are allowed to operate with more capacity. Swimming pools have been permitted to be used by all. No more restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons. All activities have been permitted outside containment zones, except a few which will be subject to strict adherence of SOPs.
Social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural, religious gatherings have already been permitted up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 people in closed spaces, and keeping of the size of the ground or space in view, in open spaces.
Further, a revised SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for swimming pools as before only sports persons were allowed to use the swimming pols. Now swimming pools will be permitted for all to use.