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All COVID-19 Restrictions Will End On March 31, Except Masks, Stay Away: Home Ministry

The Home Ministry has decided to end all COVID-19 containment measures from March 31

New Delhi:

Given the continued decline in coronavirus cases, the Home Ministry has decided to end all COVID-19 containment measures from March 31, two years after its implementation following the outbreak.

However, the wearing of face masks and maintaining the norms of social imprisonment will continue as before.

The Central Government on 24 March 2020 has issued orders and guidelines for the first time under the Disaster Management Act, (DM Act) 2005 to curb COVID-19 in the country and this has been modified on various occasions.

In a communication to the secretary -general of all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that over the past 24 months, huge capacity has been developed for various aspects of epidemic management, such as diagnostics, surveillance, contact tracking, treatment, vaccination, hospital infrastructure.

In addition, the general public now has a higher level of awareness about COVID -appropriate behaviors, he said.

The states and Union Territories have also developed their own capacities and systems and implemented their detailed specific plans to manage the outbreak, he said, adding that over the past seven weeks there has been a sharp decline in the number of cases.

The total case load in the country was only 23,913 (as of March 22) and the daily positive rate had dropped to 0.28 per cent, he said.

It is also worth mentioning that with the combined effort, a total of 181.56 crore doses of vaccine have been given, he said.

“Having taken into account the overall improvement in the situation and the Government’s readiness to deal with the outbreak, the National Disaster Management Authority has decided that there may be no further need to use the provisions of the Disaster Management Act to curb COVID-19 measures,” the communication said. .

Accordingly, Mr Bhalla said, after the expiry of the existing order on March 31, no further instructions would be issued by the Home Ministry.

However, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s advice on measures to curb COVID, including the use of face masks and hand hygiene, will continue to guide the overall national response to the outbreak, he said.

The Home Secretary, however, said given the nature of the disease, the public still needed to be vigilant with the situation.

He said when there was an increase in the number of cases, the state and UT could consider taking immediate and proactive action at the local level, as advised by the Health Ministry from time to time.

“Therefore, I would advise all States and UTs to consider accordingly stopping the issuance of orders and guidelines under the DM Act, 2005 for COVID containment measures,” Mr Bhalla said.

Union states and territories can continue to follow the Standard Operating Measures and advice that has been or is being issued by the Ministry of Health from time to time for containment measures, vaccinations and other related aspects, he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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