The festival season in India sees a lot of footfall of people in markets and public places, often congregating in large crowds and celebrating together. As Diwali is approaching, the central government has issued a fresh set of COVID-19 guidelines to the state governments.
The new guidelines have been issued to make sure that the number of COVID-19 cases doesn’t increase after the festive season is over. All the states have been asked to make sure that citizens are following the basic COVID-19 norms such as wearing a mask and maintaining social distance.
The Union Health Ministry has also asked states to increase the pace of their vaccination drive and administer the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to the citizens as soon as possible. The detailed list of guidelines issued by the Centre is mentioned below.
COVID-19 guidelines for festival season
- States and UTs have been asked to maintain strict enforcement of laid down guidelines for allowing festivities in a cautious, safe, and COVID-19 appropriate manner.
- The guidelines state that no mass gathering should be allowed in areas identified as containment zones and in districts reporting more than 5 percent COVID-19 test confirmation rates.
- States and UTs have been asked to promote online modes of shopping and purchasing and discourage unnecessary travel.
- The COVID-19 guidelines state that gatherings that are allowed with advance permission and a limited number of people (as per local context) should be closely monitored and in case of violations of COVID appropriate behavior necessary enforcement and penal actions should be taken.
- Public gatherings should be limited by the concerned authorities, taking into account the availability of space to ensure effective social distancing.
- The guidelines put in place regarding malls, local markets, and places of worship, as made available on the MoHFW website dated 30th November 2020 and 1st March 2021 need to be followed strictly.
- The five pillars of COVID management- Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and COVID appropriate behavior- need to be kept in mind by all the states and UTs during this festive season.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in an official release, said, “States/UTs are further requested to ensure that non-adherence to COVID Appropriate behavior in public places is dealt with strongly. Inter-sectoral collaboration between health departments, law enforcement agencies, market and trade associations, civil society organizations, and community will be essential to curb any risk of a spike in COVID-19 trajectory.”