December Rules: States Now Need to Consult Centre for Lockdowns Outside Containment Areas

All activities have been permitted outside containment zones, except for a list of social activities.

New Delhi: States and Union Territories can impose local restrictions like night curfew to check the spread of COVID-19, but they will have to consult the Centre before imposing any lockdown outside the containment zones, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Wednesday.

While issuing guidelines for ‘Surveillance, Containment and Caution‘ for December, the MHA said the main focus of the directive is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of COVID-19 that are visible in the steady decline in the number of active cases in the country.

The guidelines said that keeping in view the recent spike in new cases in a few states and UTs, ongoing festival season and onset of winter, it is emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic there is a need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy.

The containment strategy should be focussed on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines and SOPs issued by the MHA and Ministry of Health, they said.

“States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as night curfew.

“However, state and UT governments shall not impose any local lockdown (state/district/sub-division/city level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the central government,” the guidelines said.

The guidelines will be effective from December 1 to December 31.

All activities have been permitted outside containment zones, except for the following, which have been permitted with certain restrictions:

  • International air travel of passengers, as permitted by MHA.
  • Cinema halls and theatres, with upto 50% capacity.
  • Swimming pools, only for training of sports persons.
  • Exhibition halls, only for business to business (B2B) purposes.
  • Social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural, religious gatherings, with upto a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces; and keeping of the size of the ground/space in view, in open spaces. However, based on their assessment of the situation, state or UT governments have been allowed to reduce the ceiling to 100 persons or less, in closed spaces.