Enforce night curfew, follow guidelines; MHA issues strict warning to states
New Delhi, May 21: The Union Home Ministry on Thursday asked the states to strictly enforce night curfew, prohibiting all non-essential movements and activities from 7 pm-7 am to ensure social distancing and contain the risk of spread of infection Covid-19. The ministry asks them to delineate zones properly along its directions.
In a communication to the chief secretaries of the states and Union territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the violations of MHA Guidelines being reported at various places. States/UTs must strictly implement all measures to contain COVID19. Local authorities must take all necessary steps to enforce guidelines.
After the lockdown was extended till May 31, the Home Ministry issued fresh guidelines relaxing some curbs that were imposed during the first three phases, except in the containment zones.
''Proper delineation of containment zones, and effective implementation of containment measures within these zones, is key to preventing the spread of COVID-19. In this respect, the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) need to be followed, and containment zones properly demarcated,'' Bhalla said in his letter to the chief secretaries on Thursday night.
''States and UTs can now delineate various zones, and decide on the activities to be prohibited, or allowed with restrictions, in accordance with the MHA guidelines. Further, once the guidelines have been issued by the States and UTs, they should be strictly implemented, and action taken if any deviations are noticed,'' the letter said.
''The need to ensure night curfew, or prohibition of all nonessential activities, between 7 PM and 7 AM is an important element of the MHA guidelines. The night curfew has been mandated with a view to ensure that people observe social distancing, and to contain the risk of spread of infection. Accordingly, local authorities should be asked to issue orders in the entirety of their jurisdiction, under proper provisions of law, for imposition of night curfew. Strict compliance of these orders should be ensured by the local authorities.
''The National Directives for COVID-19 Management should be followed throughout the country. These stipulations, such as wearing face covers, ensuring social distancing at work, transport and in public places, maintaining hygiene and sanitation etc., are important for containing the spread of COVID-19, and protecting individuals and the community. It is the duty of all District and local authorities to enforce the National Directives,'' the home secretary said in the letter.
The lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days. It was then extended till May 3 and again till May 17. The lockdown has now been extended till May 31. The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 3,435 and the number of cases climbed to 1,12,359 in the country till Thursday 8 AM, according to the Union Health Ministry.