The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday released new coronavirus-related guidelines for all the states and Union Territories for effectively controlling the surge of infections. The new rules come into force from April 1.

The Centre said that the states may impose restrictions at the district, sub-district and city, or ward levels based on their assessment of the situation.

The Union home ministry noted that the slow pace of inoculation in some regions was a matter of concern. “Vaccination against Covid-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission,” it added. “Therefore, all State/UT [Union Territory] Governments should rapidly step up the pace of vaccination, to cover all priority groups in an expeditious manner.

Also read: Coronavirus: India will start vaccinating those above 45 from April 1

The Centre said there shall be no curbs on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods, including those for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission, approval or e-permit will be required for such movements, it added.

The government also directed the states to strictly enforce the “test- track-treat protocol” and ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed. It asked the states to consider imposing fines for the violation of safety protocol.

Here’s what the new guidelines say:

  • States and UTs, where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less, should rapidly increase it, to reach the prescribed level of 70% or more.
  • The new positive cases, detected as a result of intensive testing, need to be quarantined at the earliest and provided timely treatment.
  • Further as per the protocol, their contacts have to be traced at the earliest, and similarly isolated or quarantined.
  • Based on the positive cases and tracking of their contacts, containment zones will be carefully demarcated by the district authorities, at the micro-level.
  • The list of containment zones will be notified on the websites by the respective district collectors and by the states and UTs. This list will also be shared with the Centre on a regular basis.
  • Within the demarcated containment zones, containment measures, as prescribed by home ministry, shall be scrupulously followed, which include strict perimeter control, intensive house-to-house surveillance and contact tracing.
  • Local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed and governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard.

India on Tuesday registered 40,715 daily infections. With this, the country’s tally rose to 1,16,86,796. The toll climbed by 199 to 1,60,166. Tuesday’s count is 13% lower than Monday’s tally.

The health ministry said that Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu accounted for 80.9% of the cases in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra has been reporting the highest number of daily cases among all states in India.