A fresh set of coronavirus guidelines were issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on November 25 for better surveillance and containment of COVID-19 as India’s total caseload is inching toward the 10 million mark.
The new guidelines will be effective from December 1, 2020, and will remain in place till December 31.
Under the new set of coronavirus rules, states and union territories will be required to demarcate containment zones at the micro level. These will be in line with Home Minister Amit Shah’s “dynamic containment zones” suggestion.
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.
States and UTs have been authorised to impose local restrictions, including night curfews in these areas. However, for imposing further restrictions or local lockdown outside the containment zones, prior consultation with the central government will be mandatory.
All activities have been allowed outside of containment zones except a few which have been permitted with restrictions. These are:
International air travel as permitted by the MHA.
Cinema halls and theatres to operate at 50 percent capacity.
Swimming pools to be used only for training sportspersons.
Exhibitions can be arranged only for business to business (B2B) transactions.
Social, educational, sports, entertainment, cultural, and religious gatherings have been allowed at 50 percent of hall-capacity with a 200-person cap on the upper limit in closed spaces. This can be reduced to 100 by the states/ UTs, depending on the COVID-19 situation.
There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods including those for cross-border trade.
The Centre has, however, suggested reintroducing staggered work timings to ensure proper social distancing at workplaces in cities where the weekly Case Positivity Rate is more than 10 percent.The Centre is also planning to regulate the crowd at marketplaces, bazaars, and public transport, and will be issuing separate SOPs for the same soon.