The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday issued national directives for the management and curbing of the coronavirus, to be implemented by ministries and state governments. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Tuesday extended the nationwide lockdown period till May 3.
The Centre made it compulsory for people to wear masks in public spaces, including workplaces. It added that all persons in charge of public places, workplaces, and transport facilities must ensure social distancing. The home ministry said nobody who manages a public space should allow a gathering of more than five people.
The ministry also directed that the performance of all marriages and funerals should be regulated by the district magistrate of the district in which they take place. The Centre banned the sale of gutka, tobacco and liquor. It prohibited spitting in public places, which will be subject to a fine.
The ministry said that workplaces must have adequate arrangements for temperature screening and to provide hand sanitisers to people. “Workplaces shall have a gap of one hour between shifts and will stagger the lunch breaks of staff, to ensure social distancing,” it added. It said that all organisations must sanitise their workplaces between shifts. The ministry also prohibited large meetings.
The Centre said that persons above 65 years of age, those who have co-morbidities, and parents of children below the age of five should be encouraged to work from home.
With regard to manufacturing establishments, the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered that surfaces should be cleaned frequently and hand washing made mandatory. “Intensive communication and training on good hygiene practices shall be taken up,” it added.
The ministry published a list of activities permitted and prohibited till May 3. Earlier in the day, the Centre had allowed industries in rural areas and all agricultural activities to resume from April 20. The Ministry of Home Affairs said that these activities have been allowed “to mitigate hardship to public”. However, there will be no such activities in containment zones.
Districts that have several cases of coronavirus or have reported a fast spread of infection will see very strong containment measures. Only essential services will be allowed in these zones and there will be strict restriction on movement.
India has so far reported 11,439 cases of the coronavirus, including 377 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.