Guidelines for Green Zones from Centre Government; State releases its own guidelines

Gangtok, May 2:   The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on May 1 announced that the third phase of the lockdown begins from May 4 to May 17, continuing for two more weeks beginning from May 4, under directions of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to contain the spread of the coronavirus in all […] The post Guidelines for Green Zones from Centre Government; State releases its own guidelines appeared first on The Sikkim Chronicle - Sikkim News.

Guidelines for Green Zones from Centre Government; State releases its own guidelines


Gangtok, May 2:


Lockdown extension notice from MHA

 

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on May 1 announced that the third phase of the lockdown begins from May 4 to May 17, continuing for two more weeks beginning from May 4, under directions of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to contain the spread of the coronavirus in all part of the country. Thus new guidelines have been issued by MHA which is to be undertaken by all Ministries/ Departments of Government of India, State/ UT Governments and State/ UT authorities that will take effect from May 4. New guidelines have been issued according to the risk profiling of districts into Red (Hotspot), Green and Orange zones. The criteria have been divided as follows:

Green Zones: Green Zones shall be defined as per- districts with zero confirmed cases till date and/or districts with no confirmed cases in the last 21 days. The MHA has declared a total of 319 non-hotspot districts with clusters and non-infected districts as Green Zones and Sikkim falls under this zone. Exemptions and relaxations may be given in these sectors as per the government’s plan

Red Zones: These districts will be classified by the MHA taking into account the total number of active cases, doubling rate if confirmed cases, the extent of testing and surveillance feedback.

 Hotspots (designated Red Zones) will be assumed to be undertaking effective containment activities if no case is reported in the district. There are 130 districts in the red zone with all cosmopolitan cities- Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata.

Orange Zones: Districts which are neither Green zones or Red zones with 284 districts.

Containment Zone: The containment zones, which see a high risk of the spread of coronavirus infection, will see the maximum restrictions. The government has said these containment zones will be the most sensitive areas of the country from the spread of COVID-19 and they will be in either red zones or orange zones. The movement of people in and out of containment zones will be restricted, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining a supply of essential goods and services. No other activity is permitted in containment zones. The boundary of the Containment Zone will be a residential colony, municipal ward, municipal zone, towns etc.

The following are the MHA’s guidelines for the Green zones since all four districts of Sikkim have been declared as green zones we will be focusing only on it:

  • All activities are permitted except those prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the zonal division.
  • Buses can operate with up to 50% seating capacity 
  • Bus depots can operate with 50% capacity. 
  • All States/ UTs shall allow inter-State movement of goods/ cargoes including empty trucks. No state/ UT shall stop the movement of cargo for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate pass of any sort is needed for such movement, which is essential for maintaining the supply chain of goods and services across the country during the lockdown period.
  • Air, rail, sea and metro train services are not allowed. These services are not allowed in any of the zones regardless

E-commerce is allowed in non-essential items in the green zone and also in orange zones.

Sale of liquor has been allowed in all zones. Unless, the shops are located in malls, marketing complexes and containment areas, they cannot open.

Shops selling liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc. in public places will ensure minimum six feet distance from each other, maintaining social distancing and also that not more than 5 persons are present at one time at the shop.

In all 3 zones, a person above 65 years, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below 10 years shall stay at home.

OPDs and medical clinics shall be permitted to operate in red, orange and green zones with all social distancing norms.

The states/ UTs can allow only to select activities from the list of permitted activities and impose additional restrictions based on local assessment.

School, college, institutions, hospitality services, including hotels and restaurants, place of a large gathering, such as cinema halls, malls, gym, sports complex, social, political, cultural and all kind of gathering, religious place/place of worship for public remain closed.

Movement of stranded foreign nationals, persons released from quarantine, stranded migrant workers and students, pilgrims, tourists and other such persons is to be facilitated following the Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) issued by Union home ministry.

Regardless of zones, movement of individuals for all non-essential activities shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 P.M-7 A.M. Local authorities shall issue orders under appropriate provisions of law. States/UTs are mandated to strictly follow the lockdown guidelines and shall not dilute them under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

As mentioned above, all other activities will be permitted activities, which are not specifically prohibited, or which are permitted with restrictions in the various Zones, under these guidelines. However, States/ UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, and with the primary objective of keeping the spread of COVID-19 in check, may allow only select activities from out of the permitted activities, with such restrictions as felt necessary. 

The Government of Sikkim issued an order on May 2 announcing the new State guidelines for the third phase of the lockdown from May 4. This order was released by the State’s Home Department. The order dictates as follows: 

The following will remain prohibited even during the third phase of the lockdown:

  • Intra-state transport by all modes except with specific permission issued by the District Magistrate. Public transport like taxis and buses will continue to be prohibited unless with specific permission. 
  • Inter-district and Inter-State movement of individuals except for medical reasons or activities permitted under these guidelines.
  • All educational, training, coaching institutions except online/distance teaching.
  • Hospitality services except for those used for housing police/health/government officials/ health care workers/stranded persons including tourists and those facilities used for quarantine purposes. 
  • Cinema halls, gymnasium, shopping malls, shopping complexes, sports
  • complexes, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditorium, assembly hall and similar places will continue to be closed.
  • All religious places/places of worship shall be closed to the public. Religious congregations are strictly prohibited. 
  • In the case of funerals, a congregation of not more 20 persons shall be permitted. 

The following activities are permitted by w.e.f. May 4 2020:

All Health Services (including AYUSH) such as-

  1. Hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, telemedicine facilities including news for canteen services for patients. 
  2. Dispensaries, chemists, pharmacies, all kinds of medical shops including Aushadi Kendras, medical equipment shops, medical laboratories and collection centres.
  3. Veterinary hospitals and dispensaries. 

All agricultural related activities 

All fisheries-related activities. 

Tea plantations with a maximum of 50% of workers

All animal husbandry related activities. 

 Financial sector activities like-

  1. Banks, ATMs related movement as per normal working hours.
  2. Insurance companies. 

  Social Sector Activities-

  1. Operation is Homes for children, mentally challenged, disabled, senior citizens, destitute, women, widows.
  2. Observation Homes, aftercare homes and places of safety for juveniles.
  3. Disbursement of social security pensions like old age, widow, freedom fighter pensions, pension and provident fund services provided by Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO).
  4. Operation of Aganwadis- distribution of food items and nutrition once in 15 days at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries 
  5. MGNREGA works to be allowed with strict implementation of norms of social distancing and wearing face masks/covers.

Public utilities/ essential services-

  1. Oil and Gas sector, including transportation, storage, distribution and retail of products e.g. petrol, diesel, kerosene, CNG, LPG, PNG etc.

Generation, transmission and distribution of power.

  1.  Post office services
  2. Water, sanitation and waste management sectors at municipal/ local body levels.

Operation of Telecommunications and internet services

Movement, loading, unloading of good/cargo (both inter and intrastate)

  1. Movement of all authorized/ identified trucks for essential commodities shall continue following the instructions. 
  2. Transportation of other commodities like construction materials shall be allowed in trucks authorized/identified and with passes issued by the District Magistrates.
  3. Trucks registered from outside the estate carrying essential and other commodities shall be allowed to enter the State. They have to return the same. In an even they are unable to return homes, the drivers and helpers shall stay at transit camps identified by the District Magistrate. 
  4. All goods truck traffic will be allowed to ply with one driver and one helper in the goods truck.
  5. Empty vehicle/trucks allowed to ply after the delivery of goods or for pickup of goods.

Supply of essential goods-

  1. All establishments/ facilities in the supply chain of essential goods through local or e-Commerce websites will be allowed to operate. 
  2. Ration shops, shops dealing with food and groceries, hygiene items, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, poultry meat and fish, animal feed and licensed FL vendors shall be allowed to operate.
  3. District authorities encourage home delivery facilities to minimize movement.

The above activities shall be subject to directions concerning social distancing, hours of operation etc.

Commercial and private establishments-

  1. All licensed neighbourhood shops which are standalone shops including vehicle showrooms, auto garages, tyre repair shops, barbershops, spa, saloons shall remain open with 50% strength of the workers (except for shops in shopping complexes). Wearing of masks and adhering to social distancing mandatory. Shops will remain open from 10 A.M-4 P.M.
  2. Print and electronic media including broadcasting and DTH services.
  3. IT and IT-enabled services with 50% strength.
  4. A vehicle used by e-Commerce operators with necessary permissions. 
  5. Courier services, Cold storage, warehousing services and other links in the logistics chain.
  6. Private security services and facilities management services for maintenance and upkeep of office and residential complex.
  7. Hotels, homestay, lodges and motels which are accommodating tourists and stranded persons, medical and emergency staff.
  8. Establishments being used/ earmarked for quarantine facilities. 
  9. All industrial establishments in its unit will operate with transportation arrangements for workers and strict compliance with social distancing norms, hygiene and the SOP.

All construction activities will be allowed with strict adherence to social distancing norms and ensure that no movement of workers from outside the state takes place.

Movement of person/vehicles (intra-state)

The existing instructions issued by the Home Department and the DMs about passes for movement of private vehicles and individuals for emergency services and essential goods shall continue. 

Movement of persons/ vehicles (inter-state)

 Movement shall be allowed only for bringing back the stranded persons covered by MHA guidelines.

The functioning of Government Offices. 

  1. Central Government offices shall operate as per the instructions of the GoI.
  2. State Government offices, all Secretaries/ HoDs and HoOs ensure that offices operate with skeletal staff strength, to maintain functional level working if their offices. Gazette officers and other staff advised to stay at home and be available for any exigencies on phone/ mobile. Deployment of staff is maybe done on a rotational basis.

Any person violating these lockdown measures and the National Directives for COVID-19 management will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 besides legal action under Sec.188 of the IPC and other legal provisions as applicable.  

Regardless of zones, movement of individuals for all non-essential activities shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 P.M-7 A.M. Local authorities shall issue orders under appropriate provisions of law.

The Government of Sikkim also issued Standard Operating Protocols (SOP) for returnees from outside states through Rangpo Check post. It dictates as follows:

  • All returnees to Sikkim through Rangpo Check post have to register in the portal registration.covid19sikkim.org and also have to fill a self-declaration form provided to them by SNT officials at Siliguri. 
  • Have to assemble at the designated place as decoded by Nodal Officer Bhupendra Chettri, DGM/ SNT Siliguri maintaining proper social distancing.
  • Police personnel shall ensure that there is no deviation from the designated route and proper barricading shall be done at necessary places.
  • Thermal screenings shall be done at the designated area by the medical team and according to the assessment either home quarantine or institutional quarantine will be declared as per the SOP of Health Department, for a period of 14 days. All returnees should have Arogya Setu App downloaded on their phones.
  • During the screening, if anybody is found symptomatic he/she will be taken to the designated Hospital/ Triage facility for further tests and monitoring using designated ambulances.
  • The SDMs shall arrange transportation to the returnees advised home quarantine from the assembly point to their respective GPUs.

Standard Operating Protocols (SOP) for returnees from outside who have been advised facility/ institutional quarantine: 

  • The returnees after being screened by the medical team and assigned facility quarantine centre at Rangpo Check post shall be transported to the concerned quarantine centre in coordination with concerned SDM and medical team.
  • The returnees who have been advised facility quarantine may opt to stay at free or paid facility quarantine Centre and give their preference at the Help Desk at Rangpo Check post. 
  • Concerned SDMs and medical team shall visit the quarantine centre daily and ensure that all SOPs are being strictly followed. 
  • Arrangements of food shall be made by the concerned SDMs I’m free quarantine centres through SHGs/volunteers and by the respective In Charge at paid quarantine centres.
  • The returnees who opt to stay at the free quarantine centre shall make arrangements for their bed sheets, blankets and pillows. Only mattresses shall be provided at the quarantine centre. 

Below is the list of centres that have been identified for free facility quarantine in the district in Phase I and shall be under the supervision of the concerned SDM:

The following are the centres that have been identified for paid facility quarantine in the district in Phase I:

The following are the SOPs for returnees who have been advised home quarantine:

  • The Municipal Commissioner, GMC and Municipal Executive Officer Rangpo & Singtam shall constitute a team comprising of Councillor, ASHA and Aganwadi Worker/Volunteer worldwide to monitor the returnees. 
  • All BDOs shall constitute a team comprising of Panchayat President, ASHA and Aganwadi Worker/volunteer GPU-wise to monitor the returnees.
  • The guardian/ relative of the retune shall make necessary arrangements for home quarantine of the returnee as per the directions of the MHA, Government of India and Health Department, Government of Sikkim. 
  • All returnees undergoing home quarantine shall wear protective masks and follow cough etiquette and hand hygiene and maintain social distancing with family members, or colleagues. They shall strictly avoid going out of their houses and stay in a separate room.
  • All returnees shall monitor for clinical signs like fever, cough, shortness of breath, general weakness and body ache and in case of any such symptoms shall report to the concerned Medical Team immediately. 
  • All returnees undergoing home quarantine shall wear protective masks and follow cough etiquette and hand hygiene and maintain social distancing with family members, or colleagues. They shall strictly avoid going out of their houses and stay in a separate room.
  • All returnees shall monitor for clinical signs like fever, cough, shortness of breath, general weakness and body ache and in case of any such symptoms shall immediately report to the concerned Medical Team.

Any person violating these directions will be liable to be prosecuted against as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable.  

Rajeev Thapa, a local from Gangtok says, “I am very relieved to see that Sikkim falls under the Green zone and thankful that there are now more relaxations in place for us because the Sikkimese public has faithfully followed all prior lockdown guidelines. Many businesses have been affected so this is a primary source of relief to hear new relaxations. The main goal for us right now is to not let the COVID-19 enter Sikkim at all since we are a small state the damage will be irreversible.”

“My grandparents were stuck in Siliguri for the entire period of the earlier lockdown so the MHA’s decision to let stranded people return to their home states is also an added blessing. So far the State government is doing a commendable job in preventing any confirmed cases and I hope despite the relaxations this effort continues.

He adds, “Though it is good news that stranded Sikkimese people will be able to return home the risk factor has now increased so it is an intense time as well. I hope the State government will do thorough checks and screenings as well as setting up more quarantine facilities to adjust all those who will be returning home.”

 Throughout social media platforms like Facebook, the Sikkimese public continue to support both the Centre and State Government’s decision to continue the lockdown up till May 17.

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