Health Ministry issues SOPs for festive season to control Coronavirus spread

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Festivals in India
Festivals in India

New Delhi : With festivals season around the corner, the government has become over cautious over the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Cap on physical numbers, staggered timings and restricted entry have been advised during the events such as exhibitions, fairs, puja pandals, ramlila pandals or concerts, said Union health ministry standard operating procedures issued on Tuesday to help contain the spread of infection.

The advisory also stated that volunteers should be appropriately stationed to ensure thermal scanning, physical distancing and wearing of masks. There should also be a pre-identified space to isolate suspected cases near each event venue.

"In case of events that go on for days or weeks, the crowd density doesn’t remain the same throughout and usually peaks around certain hours of the day and some auspicious days. Planning the event should specifically factor this so that crowds are regulated and physical distance and frequent sanitisation are ensured," state the health ministry’s guidelines.

"In the case of rallies and immersion processions, the number of people should not exceed the prescribed limit and proper physical distancing and wearing of masks must be ensured. In any case, the number of such rallies and the distance covered by them may be kept within manageable limits."

An ambulance at the event spot is mandatory for any mishappening.

Experts say that it is important to be extra careful during the festive season as crowding could lead to a spurt in cases.

"Wherever there is mass gathering during a pandemic, and people do not observe appropriate behaviour, there is a risk of spurt in cases. If people do not take precautions, the numbers will likely see a rise in the coming weeks as the virus spreads faster when people are in close contact with each others in large numbers," Dr Srikant Sharma, Moolchand Hospital, told Hindustan Times.

Containment zones have been barred from organizing any such event.