Coronavirus: Govt issues advisory on social distancing to contain outbreak

Topics Coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Commuters wearing masks to prevent contamination of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) walk along the Janpath market in New Delhi | PTI photo
On Monday, the group of ministers (GoM) in a high-level meeting under the chairmanship of Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, issued a comprehensive advisory on coronavirus (Covid-19) directing states across the country to take social distancing measures as a preventive strategy for implementation till March 31.

The ministry reiterated the importance of social distancing, and asked citizens to raise the awareness level and follow guidelines undertaken by the government to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus at every possible level.

As the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases crossed the 130-mark in India, the Centre has proposed detailed measures on social distancing urging states to close down all schools, institutions, universities, theatres, swimming pools, gyms, cultural and social centres, and museums till March 31, 2020.

In a 15-point advisory to the state governments, the Union Health Ministry has issued following measures for social distancing:

Advisory on Social Distancing Measure in view of spread of COVID-19 disease
  1. Closure of all educational establishments (schools, universities etc), gyms, museums, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres. Students should be advised to stay at home. Online education to be promoted.

  2. Possibility of postponing exams may be explored. Ongoing exams to be conducted only after ensuring physical distance of one meter amongst students.

  3. Encourage private sector organizations/employers to allow employees to work from home wherever feasible.
  4. Meetings, as far as feasible, shall be done through video conferences. Minimize or reschedule meetings involving large number of people unless necessary.
  5. Restaurants to ensure handwashing protocol and proper cleanliness of frequently touched surfaces. Ensure physical distancing (minimum 1metre) between tables; encourage open air seating where practical with adequate distancing.
  6. Keep already planned weddings to a limited gathering, postpone all non-essential social and cultural gatherings.

  7. Local authorities to have a dialogue with organizers of sporting events and competitions involving large gatherings and they may be advised to postpone such events.

  8. Local authorities to have a dialogue with opinion leaders and religious leaders to regulate mass gatherings and should ensure no overcrowding/at least one metre distance between people. 

  9. Local authorities to have meeting with traders associations and other stakeholders to regulate hours, exhibit Do’s and Don’ts and take up a communication drive in market places like sabzi mandi, anaj mandi, bus depots, railway stations, post-offices etc., where essential services are provided.

  10. All commercial activities must keep a distance of one meter between customers. Measures to reduce peak hour crowding in markets.
  11. Non-essential travel should be avoided. Buses, Trains and aeroplanes to maximize social distancing in public transport besides ensuring regular and proper disinfection of surfaces.

  12. Hospitals to follow necessary protocol related with COVID-19 management as prescribed and restrict family/friends/children visiting patients in hospitals.

  13. Hygiene and physical distancing has to be maintained. Shaking hands and hugging as a matter of greeting to be avoided.
  14. Special protective measures for delivery men/ women working in online ordering services.

  15. Keep communities informed consistently and constantly.
- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare 

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