Beginning April 1 till the end of the month (April 30), the following COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs will be effective to curb the spread of coronavirus amid the rising number of cases. While issuing the guidelines on March 23, 2021, the MHA had noted that the aim of the “Guidelines for effective control of COVID-19″ was to “consolidate the substantial gains achieved in containing the spread of COVID-19”, as was visible during the past five months in the sustained decline in the number of active COVID-19 cases.
The main stress of the latest guidelines is on the Test-Track-Treat protocol. Further, stress has been made on the observance of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and scaling up of the vaccination drive to include all the target groups. The MHA also noted that strict implementation of the containment strategy would help in fully overcoming the pandemic and ensure the process to resume economic and other activities is successful.
Each state and UT to ensure the proportion of RT-PCR tests is 70 per cent or more
New positive cases to be isolated/quarantined at the earliest and provided with timely treatment
Contacts of new positive cases to be traced at the earliest and isolated/quarantined
Micro-containment zone policy to be implemented
COVID-19 appropriate behaviour
COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to be observed in workplaces and in public, especially in crowded areas
Strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing; states/UTs permitted to take administrative actions including imposing fines.
States/UTs allowed to impose local restrictions at district/sub-district and city/ward level to contain the spread of COVID-19
States/UTs cannot impose restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods, including those for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries
Activities outside containment zones
All activities which have been permitted outside containment zones shall continue with SOPs that have been prescribed for various activities National Directives for COVID-19 Management
National Directives for COVID-19 Management
The National Directives for COVID-19 Management make face coverings/wearing of masks mandatory in public places; at workplaces; and during transport
Individuals have to ensure a social distancing of at least 6 feet in public places
Spitting in public places is prohibited and is punishable with a fine
Complete MHA COVID-19 guidelines for April can also be read here:
COVID-19 vaccine for everyone above 45 years of age from April 1
Also, beginning today (April 1), all Indian citizens above the age of 45 can get themselves vaccinated at government and private hospital and other medical facilities across the country. The government has now done away with the condition of comorbidities for people in the age bracket of 45 and 59. All those 60 years of age and above are already allowed to get themselves vaccinated against the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease.
COVID-19 vaccination in the country had started on January 16 with healthcare workers first being inoculated against COVID-19. Vaccination of frontline workers had started on February 2. In the second phase of the vaccination drive that started on March 1, those above the age of 60 and those aged 45 or more and having specified comorbidities were allowed to get themselves vaccinated.
All eligible persons are allowed to make an advance appointment on the CoWIN portal (https://cowin.gov.in) or get themselves registered on site after 3 pm every day starting April 1.
“From April 1, all people above 45 years of age will be eligible for vaccination. Advance appointment can be booked through cowin.gov.in. If you don’t want to do this, you can go to your nearest vaccination centre after 3 pm and go for on-site registration,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said earlier this week.
Those choosing to get themselves registered on-site will have to carry an identity card, preferably Aadhaar Card, Voter ID card, Passport or even bank passbook or ration card. “Those who want to go for on-site registration are requested to go to their nearest vaccination centre after 3 pm with any identity document. Usually people with Aadhaar Card and voter ID. But you can also produce bank passbook, passport, ration card,” the health secretary had said.
Ahead of April 1 expansion of COVID-19 vaccination drive, the CoWIN portal’s capacity has also been improved to accept up to one crore registrations and record vaccination of 50 lakh persons per day. India is currently administering two vaccines – Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s indigenously-developed Covaxin. Both vaccines are being administered in two doses – Covishield with a gap of 6-8 weeks between the two doses and Covaxin with a gap of 4 weeks.