Indian Health Ministry Issues Guidelines on Festivities


The Health Ministry on Tuesday issued the standard operating procedures (SOP) on preventive measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus during ensuing festivities and urged people in containment zones, and vulnerable populations to celebrate festivals at their homes.

“Festive events shall be permitted only outside the Containment Zones. Organisers, staff and visitors from Containment Zones shall not be permitted. People residing inside Containment Zones may be encouraged to observe all festivals inside their homes and not move out,” the ministry added.

It said that the festivals, fairs, rallies, exhibitions, cultural functions, processions and concerts associated with the festivities are mass events and advised the administrative requirement such as identification of spatial boundaries and preparation of a detailed site plan in compliance with thermal screening, physical distancing, sanitisation etc.

“In case of events that run for days or weeks, the crowd density doesn’t remain the same throughout and usually peaks around certain hours of the day and some previously known auspicious days. Planning for the event should specifically factor this so that crowds are regulated and managed to ensure physical distance and frequent sanitisation,” the guidelines added.

In 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.

The Health Ministry said that the events such as rallies, and processions spread over long distances would require support of ambulance services. Events planned to last for many days or weeks such as exhibitions, fairs, puja pandals, Ramlila pandals or concerts and plays should have adequate measures to ensure a cap on physical numbers.

“Staggered timings and restricted entry may be considered. Volunteers should be appropriately stationed to ensure thermal scanning, physical distancing and wearing of masks. The guidelines issued for theatre and cinema artists will apply to stage performers. Adequate supplies of sanitisers, thermal guns and physical distancing floor markings to be ensured,” the Centre added.

Close circuit cameras would be considered to monitor compliance of physical distance norms, wearing of masks at each venue. “In case of rallies and processions, route planning, identification of immersion sites, ensuring cap on numbers, physical distancing etc. must be planned beforehand and measures for enforcement outlined.”

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Arushi Sana is the Co-Founder of Santerra Living, a bio-pellet factory that makes a renewable form of eco-coal and Co-Founder of NYK Daily, a global news platform. She was awarded the Times Power Women of the Year 2022, Times Digital Entrepreneur of the Year 2023, Silicon India's Top 10 Women Owned Startups of Hyderabad 2023 and IHW Council Climate Health Influencer 2024. Arushi is also a speaker for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship at various forms like the World Bank, UN International Solar Alliance and Universities, and was also invited to the UN COP28 UAE Climate Conference. She is a Sustainability Consultant for organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprint and also works with brands on social media to help them carve a presence in that niche. She holds a Degree in Computer Science Engineering from VIT University and a Diploma in Marketing Analytics from IIM Nagpur. She has previously worked in Ernst & Young and Deloitte as a Forensic Data Analyst. Arushi is a writer, political researcher, a social worker, a farmer and a singer with an interest in languages. Travel and nature are the biggest spiritual getaways for her, and she aims to develop a global community of knowledge and journalism par excellence through this News Platform.

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