In view of the continuous dip in coronavirus cases, a huge relaxation has been announced by the ministry. The Home Ministry has decided to end all COVID-19 containment measures from March 31, after two long years of their implementation following the outbreak of the pandemic. However, wearing of face mask and maintaining social distancing norms will continue as earlier.
For the first time on March 24, 2020, The Central government had issued the orders and guidelines under the Disaster Management Act, (DM Act) 2005 for the containment of COVID-19 in the country and these have been modified on various occasions.
In a communication to the chief secretaries of all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that over the last 24 months, the states and Union Territories have also developed their own capacities and systems and implemented their detailed specific plans for managing the pandemic, such as diagnostics, surveillance, contact tracing, treatment, vaccination, hospital infrastructure. Also, the general public now has a much higher level of awareness of COVID-appropriate behaviour.
Adding over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only (on March 22) and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28 per cent, he said.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare advisories on COVID containment measures, including on the use of face masks and hand hygiene, will continue to guide the overall national response to the pandemic, as in view of the nature of the disease, people still need to remain watchful of the situation.
He said whenever any surge in the number of cases is observed, states and UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at the local level, as advised by the Ministry of Health from time to time.
The states and Union territories may continue to follow the Standard Operating Measures and advisories that have been or are being issued by the Ministry of Health from time to time for containment measures, vaccination and other related aspects.
It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 crore vaccine doses have been administered, he added.