States can bring in restrictions locally, based on their assessment, but no activity will be restricted outside containment zones, the government said on Tuesday in new guidelines to tackle a spike in Covid cases in parts of the country.
All states must strictly enforce the test-track-treat protocol and ensure Covid-appropriate behavior to check the spread of the coronavirus, say the Home Ministry's new guidelines, effective for the month of April.
The centre has also asked states to rapidly step up vaccinations to cover all priority groups at the earliest. The vaccine drive has seen "uneven pace" across different States and Union Territories and the slow pace of vaccination in some states "is a matter of concern", says the home ministry.
"Vaccination against COVID-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission. Therefore, all state/UT governments should rapidly step up the pace of vaccination, to cover all priority groups in an expeditious manner," it says.
States where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less should rapidly increase them to 70 per cent or more, the Home Ministry says.
Based on the Covid-positive cases and the tracking of their contacts, district authorities will need to mark containment zones and notify them on websites.
States have been asked to consider fines or other similar action to strictly enforce Covid-appropriate behavior like masks, sanitizing and distancing in work places and in public, especially in crowded places.
The rules say there will be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of people and goods.
All activities will be allowed outside the containment zones, with SOPs. This means the government will not stop trains, flights, metros, schools, colleges, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, multiplexes, parks, yoga centres, gyms and gatherings.