MHA extends COVID-19 surveillance till January 31

Govt. order mentions detection of new virulent strain from UK

Updated - December 28, 2020 09:23 pm IST

Published - December 28, 2020 07:56 pm IST - New Delhi

Workers wearing PPE suits at Mumbai International Airport escort passengers who arrived from United Kingdom. File

Workers wearing PPE suits at Mumbai International Airport escort passengers who arrived from United Kingdom. File

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order on Monday extending the COVID-19 “guidelines for surveillance” till January 31.

 

In a letter, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked all States to instruct the concerned authorities to support the Union Health Ministry in “identification, preparation of database, vaccine delivery, storage, security, shipment and vaccination of beneficiaries”.

 

The letter said the Government of India has started preparations for administration and roll out of vaccine for COVID-19 under which healthcare workers, frontline workers, persons above 50 years of age and those below 50 years with comorbidities have been prioritised.

 

“Strict vigil is also needed to be maintained to prevent any fresh surge cases in wake of up-coming New Year celebrations and ongoing winter season, which are favourable for the spread of the virus,” the letter said, adding that State governments could impose local restrictions such as night curfews.

 

The letter also asked States to follow the December 18 order by Supreme Court directing strict compliance of COVID-19 guidelines and regulation of gatherings among other things.

 

The earlier guidelines under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, that were issued on November 25 were applicable till December 31.

 

“While there has been a continuous decline in the active and new COVID-19 cases, there is need to maintain surveillance, containment and caution, keeping in view the surge in cases globally, and emergence of a new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom (UK),” an order issued by MHA said. The order will apply to all States and Union Territories.

 

“Accordingly, containment zones continue to be demarcated carefully; prescribed containment measures strictly followed within these zones; COVID-appropriate behaviour promoted and strictly enforced; and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prescribed in respect of various permitted activities followed scrupulously. Therefore, the focused approach on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines/ SOPs issued by MHA and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW), as envisaged in the Guidelines issued on 25.11.2020; need to be enforced strictly by States and UT,” the order said.

 

The November 25 guidelines specified “surveillance, containment and caution” in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases due to the festival season and onset of winter.

 

Earlier the MHA had stressed that States should ensure 80% contacts of all persons found COVID-19 positive should be traced in 72 hours and their “tracking, identification, quarantine and follow up” for the next 14 days should be done strictly.

 

More than 1 crore COVID-19 cases and 1.4 lakh deaths have been reported in the country so far.

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