Centre releases SOPs to contain spread of COVID-19 for upcoming festival season

Union Health Ministry today released Standard Operating Procedures on preventive measures to contain spread of COVID-19 during festivities. The months of October to December are time for festivities that witness gatherings of large number of people in specified locations for religious worship, fairs, rallies, exhibitions and cultural functions. The Ministry said, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, it is important that necessary preventive measures are followed for such events. Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home. The Ministry has asked administration to identify spatial boundaries and prepare a detailed site plan which would facilitate compliance with thermal screening, physical distancing and sanitization. In case of rallies and immersion processions, the number of people should not exceed the prescribed limit and proper physical distancing and wearing of masks must be ensured. In any case, the
number of such rallies and the distance covered by them may be kept within manageable limits. Events planned to last for many days or weeks such as exhibitions, fairs, puja pandals, ramlila pandals or concerts and plays should have adequate measures to ensure a cap on physical numbers. Staggered timings and restricted entry may be considered. Festive events will be permitted only outside the Containment Zones. People residing inside Containment Zones should be encouraged to observe all festivals inside their homes and not move out. Close circuit cameras may be considered to monitor compliance of physical distance norms and
wearing of masks at each venue. Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of six feet in public places as far as feasible. In religious places, touching of statues, idols and holy books will not be allowed.

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