The ministry, while extending validity of the norms last announced on November 25, noted that though the overall situation in the country appeared optimistic with a steady decline in active cases over the past 2-3 months, there was need to maintain caution and strict surveillance in view of the surge in cases globally and emergence of new variant of the virus in the UK.
“Strict vigil is also needed to be maintained to prevent any fresh surge in cases in wake of upcoming New Year celebrations and ongoing winter season which are favourable for the spread of the virus,” home secretary Ajay Bhalla said in a letter to the chief secretaries/administrators of all states/UTs.
Bhalla said the states and UTs shall continue to have the leeway to impose local restrictions such as night curfew, depending on their own assessment of the situation.
Importantly, with the government having started preparations for rollout of the vaccine for Covid-19, the home secretary asked the states/UTs to instruct the authorities concerned to offer active support to the ministry of health and family welfare in identification, preparation of database of beneficiaries, vaccine delivery, storage, security, shipment and vaccination process.
The National Expert Group of Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended giving the vaccine on priority to healthcare workers, front-line workers, persons aged 50 years and above and those under 50 years with co-morbidities.
The current set of guidelines allow all activities outside containment zones with some curbs; such as international air travel as permitted by MHA; cinema halls and theatres to run with 50% capacity; swimming pools only for training of sportspersons; exhibitions only for business-to-business purposes; and social, religious, sports & cultural gatherings up to a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons, in closed spaces and keeping the size of the ground in view, in open spaces.