The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday issued fresh guidelines for effective control of the COVID-19 disease starting from April 1 to April 30.
“The main focus of the guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains achieved in containing the spread of COVID-19, which was visible in the sustained decline in the number of active cases, continuously for about five months,” MHA said in a statement.
“Keeping in view a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, which is being witnessed in some parts of the country, the guidelines mandate the state/UT governments to strictly enforce the Test-Track-Treat protocol in all parts of the country; ensure observance of COVID appropriate behaviour by everyone; and, to scale up the vaccination drive, to cover all the target groups,” it added.
In order to fully overcome the pandemic, the MHA said that there need to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy, and strictly observe the guidelines/SOPs issued by the concerned ministries of the central and state/UT governments.
Amid the surge in COVID cases, a new protocol has been introduced – Test-Track-Treat protocol. It includes aggressive testing to detect early COVID cacses, timely isolation of by providing them clinical interventions, timely contact tracing and demarcation of Containment Zones.
“States and UTs, where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less, should rapidly increase it, to reach the prescribed level of 70 per cent or more. The new positive cases, detected as a result of intensive testing, need to be isolated/ quarantined at the earliest and provide timely treatment,” MHA said.
The ministry also informed that state/UT government shall be responsible for promoting COVID appropriate behavior in workplaces as well as in public. Strict enforcement of wearing of masks, hand hygiene and social distancing must also be maintained, failing which the state/UT governments may impose appropriate fines.
Further, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, states and UTs may impose local restrictions at district/sub-district and city/ward level.
Talking about vaccination, the MHA said, “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.”
All state/UT governments have been advised to step up the pace of vaccination, to cover all priority groups in an expeditious manner.
India reported 40,715 new COVID-19 cases, 29,785 recoveries, and 199 deaths in the last 24 hours.