Center releases SOPs to contain the spread of COVID-19 during festivities

NewsBharati    07-Oct-2020
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New Delhi, October 06: Ahead of many festivals such as Chhath Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Tuesday issued SOP to contain the spread of COVID-19 and stressed that no festivity will be permitted in containment zones.
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"These events usually last a day or a week or more. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, it is important that necessary preventive measures are followed for such events," the Ministry said.
The ministry said, "Festive events shall be permitted only outside the Containment Zones. Organisers, staff, and visitors from Containment Zones shall not be permitted. People residing inside Containment Zones may be encouraged to observe all festivals inside their homes and not move out".
The Ministry has removed the ceiling on the number of people allowed to participate in gatherings in open spaces however, functions in open spaces can be attended by a maximum of 200 persons. Moreover, persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years have been advised to stay at home. This applies to the event managers and staff as well.
The ministry said a plan should be prepared well in advance about conducting each event. Event sites should have adequate floor areas and proper markings to ensure physical distancing. Volunteers should be appropriately stationed to ensure thermal scanning, physical distancing, and the wearing of masks.
Furthermore, in case of events that run for days or weeks, the crowd density doesn’t remain the same throughout and usually peaks around certain hours of the day and some previously known auspicious days. Planning for the event should specifically factor this so that crowds are regulated and managed to ensure physical distance and frequent sanitization.vents planned to last for many days or weeks such as exhibitions, fairs, puja pandals, Ramlila pandals or concerts and plays should have adequate measures to ensure a cap on physical numbers. Staggered timings and restricted entry may be considered.
Close-circuit cameras would be considered to monitor compliance of physical distance norms, wearing of masks at each venue. "In case of rallies and processions, route planning, identification of immersion sites, ensuring cap on numbers, physical distancing must be planned beforehand and measures for enforcement outlined."
All events must plan for medical care arrangements with linkages to the nearest hospitals to attend to health emergencies.