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All Activities, Religious Places, Shopping Malls, Restaurants Outside Containment Zones to Re-Open from June 8

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New MHA Guidelines for lockdown from June 1, 2020

New Delhi- Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines to fight COVID-19 and for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones, today.  The guidelines would come into effect from June 1, 2020, and would be effective till June 30, 2020.  The current phase of re-opening, Unlock 1, will have an economic focus. The new guidelines have been issued based on extensive consultations held with States and UTs. 

A strict lockdown was imposed throughout the country since March 24, 2020.  All activities were prohibited except for essential activities. Subsequently, in a graded manner and keeping the overarching objective of containing the spread of COVID-19 in view, the lockdown measures have been relaxed.

Note: The below given notification issued by the MHA has been published with no or little editing by Himachal Watcher 

Salient features of the new guidelines

Lockdown measures would continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones. These will be demarcated by the State/ UT Governments, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry. Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed. 

All activities that were prohibited earlier would be opened up in areas outside Containment Zones in a phased manner, with the stipulation of following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to be prescribed by the Health Ministry:

 

Phase I (permitted to open from June 8, 2020)

  • Religious places and places of worship for the public;
  • Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services; and
  • Shopping malls. 

Health Ministry would issue SOPs for the above activities, in consultation with the Central Ministries/ Departments concerned and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Phase II

Schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and UTs.  State Governments/ UT administrations are being advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders.  Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in July 2020.  MoHFW will prepare SOP for these institutions. 

A limited number of activities to remain prohibited throughout the country

  • International air travel of passengers;
  • Operation of Metro Rail; 
  • Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and,
  • Social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations. 
  • Dates for the opening of the above activities would be decided in Phase III, based on an assessment of the situation. 

Unrestricted Movement of Persons and Goods

  • No restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods.  No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit would be required for such movements.
  • However, if a State/ UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate the movement of persons, it would give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movement, and the related procedures to be followed. 

Night curfew would continue to remain in force, on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities.  However, the revised timings of the curfew will be from 9 pm to 5 am. 

National Directives for COVID-19 management would continue to be followed throughout the country, to ensure social distancing.    

States to decide on activities outside Containment Zones

States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment zones or impose such restrictions, as deemed necessary. 

Protection for vulnerable persons

Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Use of Aarogya Setu

The Aarogya Setu mobile application is a powerful tool built by Government of India to facilitate quick identification of persons infected by COVID-19, or at risk of being infected, thus acting as a shield for individuals and the community.  To ensure safety, various authorities are advised to encourage the use of the application.

Click to Read Complete Notification Issued by MHA on May 30, 2020

 

Misc News/Press Release

After Booking About 200 Women in Spiti, CM Now Urges Rural Women to be Vigilant About Quarantine Violations

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Tribal woman in kinnaur arrested

Shimla-On the one hand, Himachal Pradesh Government is allegedly harassing nearly 200 tribal women of Spiti for being vigilant and denying entry to the large convey of Cabinet Minister Ram Lal Markanda early in June for not following the rules regarding quarantine, but on the other hand Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is urging the womenfolk to keep a strict vigil on the people coming home from other States, who have been kept in-home quarantine.

Also Read: Haughty Minister Allegedly Heckling Tribal Women Who Dared to Deny Him Entry in District Over Quarantine Violation

He urged them to help to monitor such people so that they don’t jump home quarantine. He said that this would help in checking the spread of this virus at the community level. He was reportedly interacting with rural women who are beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojna on Monday.

The Chief Minister also made a big claim that Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in the country where cent percent households have LPG gas connections.

Thakur made a claim that there is no more collecting fuel wood and cooking food on traditional chullah in the State. Now, rural women do not have to go out for collecting fuel wood, Additional Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar added to the CM’s claim.

The CM claimed that Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojna, gas connections were provided free of cost to 1.36 lakh families of the State. 

Under State Government’s Himachal Grihini Suvidha Yojna, 2,76,243 families were provided free gas connections in the State.                               

 

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Misc News/Press Release

HIMCARE: Last Date for Registration/Renewal Extended

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Himachal Pradesh Himcare Registration and Renewal

Shimla: The last date for renewal of HIMCARE card has been extended till 15th July 2020, the Additional Chief Secretary Health R.D. Dhiman had informed recently. Under this scheme, free health treatment is provided upto rupees five lakh. 

 He said that new eligible families can also register upto 15th July 2020. Besides this, those families can also renew their cards on completion of a time period of 365 days. The beneficiaries can visit the website for registration and renewal or can visit the nearest Lok Mitra centre.

It is mandatory to upload the required documents for registration and renewal of card and the list of required documents was available on the website.

ACS said that those families whose card has expired on 30th June 2020, didn’t renew their card till 15th July 2020, then they would have to wait till January and would not be able to avail the benefit of free health treatment.

Tourism Activities in Himachal to Increase, Stay Alert: ACS Dhiman

Further, on Monday, Dhiman said the economic and tourism activities would be increasing in the State, therefore, it was important to stay alert of this virus for self-safety and safety of the society.

This statement regarding safety from coronavirus is contrary to the decisions of the state government to open tourism activity amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases.

The State Government is facing a backlash from every sphere of society for opening borders for all, especially tourists, without the need of e-pass or permission from the authorities. This decision is more likely to fuel the COVID-19 outbreak in the State.

At the same time, Dhiman is asking the people not to get afraid of coronavirus and to follow the guidelines issued by the Government, maintain self-hygiene, keeping a physical distance of one meter or three feet from another person, to avoid crowding at one place, cover the mouth with a mask or face cover and do not touch the nose, eyes and mouth.

He also asked the people to avoid such wards in the hospital where patients of coronavirus were being treated. In case a person was suffering from fever, cough, cold or having difficulty in breathing, the person should immediately contact helpline number 104 or avail services of e-sanjeevani OPD.

He also asked the people to avoid such wards in the hospital where patients of coronavirus were being treated. In case a person was suffering from fever, cough, cold or having difficulty in breathing, the person should immediately contact helpline number 104 or avail services of e-sanjeevani OPD.

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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: Tourists from Neighboring States Line Up at Borders, Residents Allege Discrimination in Quarantine Rules  

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Himachal Pradesh - tourist start coming

Shimla: With the decision of Jairam Thakur-led State Government to allow tourist activity and to allow people from other states to enter Himachal Pradesh without obtaining e-pass or permission from district authorities, a beeline of vehicles was seen at the Parwanoo inter-state barrier on Sunday. This led to a traffic jam as over 1700 vehicles including both residents and tourists lined up at the barrier.

A large number of them were sent back from the barrier as they lacked required COVID-19 negative report or had not registered on the e-pass portal.

However, several tourists were allowed to enter the state after verifying their documents and COVID-19 reports, the authorities said.

According to a media report, some tourists reached Kasauli and Barog – popular spots for weekend tourism. They reportedly returned after spending a few hours. Contrary to this, the mandatory condition for tourist entry says that visitors would have to make a booking of a minimum of five days.

Similarly, visitors and returnees had reached other boarders like in Swarghat and Mehatpur. 

Also Read: All SOPs for Hotels, Restaurants, Home-Stays and Others Involved in Tourism Industry

Another issue that the authorities would face is verifying that all tourists who had entered the State returned. Tourist would have to furnish a COVID-19 negative report not older than 72 hours, register on the online portal, and make an advance booking of a minimum of five days. The SOPs have not defined as to how to verify that every single tourists have existed the state after the expiry of the mentioned duration.

Further, residents of the State are questioning the government over discrimination in quarantine rules. While tourist can enter the state and roam around for a few days without being quarantined, the residents would have to follow institutional and home-quarantine strictly even if they have a COVID-19 negative report.

Also Read: Tourist Activity Allowed, Read New Rules for Entering State, Quarantine, Plying of Public Transport

It’s pertinent to mention that the Government is already facing a backlash over its decision to open the State borders for tourists at a time when the State is witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The hoteliers were also not in favour of opening the State for tourists. The residents are feeling insecure following this decision as they fear it would lead to a bigger coronavirus outbreak. With appearance of 17 new cases yesterday, the the COVID-19 tally for the State had reached 1064. 

Considering the beeline of tourist vehicles merely after 48 hours of the announcement to allow tourism activity, it is clear that tourists are likely to flood the state in the coming days. Monsoon would be the only deterrent currently. What’s concerning is that hospitality industry did not get any time to train staff or arrange all facilities mentioned in the SOPs issued by the State Government. 

The public and hoteliers are of the opinion that this decision was taken in a haste without any consideration for consequences. On the other hand the State Government claims that it had asked the Centre to allow it manage the influx of visitors/returnees in accordance with the current situation. This request, Government said, was declined by the Centre. The Government believes that opening Himachal for tourists would bring relief to those employed in the hospitality industry. 

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