While there will be a phase-wise lifting of the lockdown across the country (except containment zones), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its guidelines has said that work-from-home should be offered as far as possible.
A nationwide lockdown was imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from March 25 to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.
"Staggering of work/business hours will be followed in offices, workplaces, shops, markets and industrial & commercial establishments," said the MHA circular.
It added that there should be provisions for thermal screening, hand wash and sanitiser at all entry and exit places as well as common areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The MHA guidelines also said that all persons in charge if work places have to ensure adequate social distancing between workers, adequate gaps between shifts and staggering of lunch breaks of the staff.
Here, social distancing means maintaining at least six feet of gap between two people in public places like offices.
MHA has said that Aarogya Setu application will help in early detection of risks and hence employers on ‘best-effort basis’ must ensure that this application is installed by employees with compatible mobile phones.
Ever since the lockdown was announced in March, almost 10 million salaried employees across companies have been working from home. Only those in essential services like banks (especially branches), insurance, stock broking, hospitals, medical stores, grocery shops and public utilities were required to travel to the workplace.
In green zones, though the restrictions were eased from May 18, most organisations chose to offer work-from-home till the conditions improved. Even the IT sector which employs almost 4 million people in India has said that employees will continue to work from home even after the lockdown is completely lifted.
India has a total of 173,763 reported COVID-19 positive cases so far. Till now, there have been 4,971 deaths across the country where Maharashtra accounts for almost half of the fatalities.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.