As India heals from COVID-19 in a steady manner, the Centre on Wednesday announced that it is revoking provisions of the Disaster Management Act for COVID containment measures, a fresh order by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated.
The order would come into force on March 31.
The order copy signed by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla reads that after taking into consideration the overall improvement in the situation and preparedness of the Government to deal with the pandemic, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has taken a decision that there may not be any further need to invoke the provisions of the DM Act for COVID containment measures.
Accordingly, after the expiry of the existing Ministry of Home Affairs orders dated February 25, 2022, no further order may be issued by the MHA.
Notably, the relaxation comes after two years since India was hit by the novel coronavirus.
However, advisories on COVID containment measures, including the use of face masks and hand hygiene, will continue to guide the overall national response to the pandemic.
"I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at the local level, as advised by MOHFW from time to time," the Home Secretary said in the order.
He also advised States and UTs to discontinue the issue of orders and guidelines under the DM Act.
"I would, therefore, advise all the States/UTs to consider appropriately discontinuing issue of orders and guidelines under the DM Act, 2005 for COVID containment measures. The States/UTs may continue to follow the SoPs/advisories that have been or are being issued by the MoHFW from time to time for COVID containment measures, vaccination and other related aspects, including observing COVID Appropriate Behaviour," he said in the order.
On March 24, 2020, the MHA had issued Orders and Guidelines under the Disaster Management Act, (DM Act) 2005, for the containment of COVID-19 in the country on the direction of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
Various proactive measures were taken by the Centre in coordination with state governments and Union Territory Administrations (UTS) to deal with the unprecedented global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, the MHA order further reads that over the last 24 months, significant capacities have been developed for various aspects of management of the pandemic, such as diagnostics, surveillance, contact tracing, treatment and vaccination, hospital infrastructure and the general public has a much higher level of awareness on the COVID appropriate behaviour.
States and UTs have also developed their own capacities and systems and implemented their detailed State/UT specific plans for managing the pandemic, over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases, it said.
The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28 per cent.
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