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Odisha Releases New COVID-19 Guidelines For December; Lockdown To Continue In Containment Zones

Bhubaneswar: As part of its strategy to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and spread, the Odisha Government on Monday issued fresh guidelines which will come into effect from December 1 (tomorrow).

As per the latest notification issued by the office of the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), the lockdown will remain in force in containment zones. Concerned district authorities/ municipal commissioners have been asked to carefully designate the containment zones as per the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the notification read.

In the containment zones, essential services will be allowed. There will be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in and out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.

As per the latest notification, focus will be given on testing and contact tracing of COVID-19 cases. There is a target to track 80 % of the contacts within 72 hours. Besides, quick isolation of COVID-19 patients shall be ensured in treatment facilities and home isolations.

Here are the other key highlights:

-International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA will continue to remain closed till December 31, 2020.

-Large social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other congregations will remain prohibited till December 31, 2020.

-Business to Business (B2B) exhibitions shall be allowed in exhibition halls with participants up to 50% of the hall capacity with a ceiling of 100 persons subject to compliance of COVID19 safety protocols.

-Business to Customer (B2C) exhibitions/ Mela/ similar functions such as Toshali Craft Mela, Shisir Saras, etc. shall remain prohibited.

Guidelines For Marriages & Funerals

Marriage related gatherings shall be allowed with a ceiling of 200 persons and funeral/ last rites related gatherings with a ceiling of 50 persons, subject to the following conditions:

a. In closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed subject to the above ceilings.

b. In open spaces, keeping the size of the ground/ open space in view, appropriate number of persons will be allowed, subject to the above ceilings, so as to ensure maintenance of prescribed physical distancing norm.

c. Wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing and provision of thermal scanning & use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory.

District Collectors/ Municipal Commissioners shall take decision regarding the number of persons to be allowed in marriage related functions (within the overall limit of 200) keeping their local situation in mind in the interest of the health of the people and issue specific order in that regard.

Guidelines For Educational Institutions

-All Medical Colleges of the State shall reopen with effect from December 1, 2020. Medical College Authorities shall follow all the SOPs /guidelines with respect to social distancing and prevention of spread of epidemic issued by Central/ State Government, scrupulously.

-The Department of School & Mass Education is authorized to take appropriate decision with regard to the date of re-opening of schools under its control/ superintendence/ supervision in respect of classes from 9th to 12th Standard, in a graded manner in consultation with relevant stakeholders and issue necessary guidelines/ SOP.

-The Department of Higher Education is authorized to take appropriate decision with regard to the date of re-opening of Colleges/ Higher Education Institutions under its control/ superintendence/ supervision in consultation with the relevant stakeholders and by following the guidelines/ SOP issued by guidelines UGC / AICTE / Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

-The Department of Skill Development and Technical Education Department may take appropriate decision with regard to the date of re-opening of Engineering Colleges and other Technical Education/ Skill Development Institutions under its control/ superintendence/ supervision in consultation in a graded manner in consultation with relevant stakeholders and issue necessary guidelines/ SOP.

-All Academic/ Technical/ Skill Development Institutions (except Medical Colleges) will remain closed till December 31, 2020 or till such date as decided by the Departments concerned.

Notwithstanding closure of Academic/ Technical / Skill Development Institutions, the followings will be permitted:

a. Conduct of examinations (academic, competitive and entrance tests), evaluation and other administrative activities.

b. Online/ distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.

c. The concerned department may permit teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the School/ College/ Institution for online teaching/ tele-counselling and related work, in areas outside the Containment Zones only as per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the Ministry of Education/ Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), GoI.

d. Higher Education Institutions will be permitted to open only for research scholars (Ph.D.) and post-graduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory/ experimental work. e. All training activities including skill and professional development.

– All Anganwadi Centres shall remain closed till 31st December 2020 and the arrangement for supply of ration to the beneficiaries shall continue.

Religious Institutions, Cinema Halls & Entertainment Complexes

Local Authority i.e., District Magistrate/ Municipal Commissioner may permit public worship in religious places/ places of worship with appropriate restrictions, based on local assessment of the situation with regard to spread of COVID-19 and in due consultation with relevant stakeholders, with observance of COVID-19 safety protocol.

– Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment complexes, theatres, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places shall continue to remain closed.

Here’s What Allowed:

-Open Air Theatres and similar places subject to compliance of safety protocols such as mandatory wearing of face masks, physical distancing, etc.

– Swimming Pools owned and controlled by Government/ recognized by the Department of Sports & Youth Services, Government of Odisha for training of sports persons as per SOP issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, GoI.

– Large meetings of members of associations/ clubs/ institutions/ organizations shall be avoided till December 31, 2020.

However, no authority shall impose any local lockdown at District, Sub-division, City or below level outside the containment zones and in case, it is felt absolutely necessary in the interest of containment of the disease and prevention of the spread of infection, the Collector/ Municipal Commissioner may move the Special Relief Commissioner for consultation with Central Government. However, the Collector/ Municipal Commissioner may, impose local restrictions on mobility, congregation, operation of shops and establishments, offices and other activities, if it is so required, the SRC order read.

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