India is all set to ease all the COVID-19 restrictions from March 31, including the implementation of the Disaster Management Act. However, face masks and social distancing will still be mandatory. Read on to know what this means for you. By Karan Kaushik
No more COVID-19 restrictions in India from March 31
According to a PTI report published in the Business Standard, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has decided to end COVID-19 containment measures from March 31 in the wake of the declining number of coronavirus cases in the country. The restrictions have been in place for over two years since the nation went through the first phase of the pandemic-induced lockdown in March 2020. Over the last two years, the orders and guidelines issued by the central government under the Disaster Management Act 2005 on March 24, 2020, have been modified on several occasions.
The news report suggests that Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has asserted that India has developed significant capacities like diagnostics, surveillance, contact tracing, treatment, and vaccination to manage the pandemic. Bhalla added that the country has also worked towards the improvement of hospital infrastructure. He said that there has been an increase in awareness about COVID-appropriate behaviour among the general public in India.
National Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Home Affairs revokes the provisions of the Disaster Management Act for Covid containment measures.
— Prasar Bharati News Services पी.बी.एन.एस. (@PBNS_India) March 23, 2022
As per the report, Bhalla also congratulated the various states and Union Territories for being successful in developing their own capacities and systems to manage the pandemic. He stated that the country has seen a steep decline in the number of coronavirus cases during the last seven weeks.
According to the data shared by the Home Secretary, India’s total caseload stands at 23,913 only till March 22. The daily positivity rate has also decreased to 0.28 percent. Bhalla also applauded the country’s vaccination program and said that as many as 181.56 crore vaccine doses have been administered in India so far.
As a result, the National Disaster Management Authority has decided that it will not invoke the provisions of the Disaster Management Act for COVID-19 containment measures after its orders from March 2022 expire on March 31, 2022. According to the report, the Ministry of Home Affairs will not issue further orders after the existing order expires.
However, it may be noted that the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will continue to guide the overall response of the country to the pandemic. These include guidelines regarding the use of face masks and hand hygiene.