India to Revoke All COVID Restrictions From 31 March, But Masks to Stay
This week, India reported around 1,760 COVID cases a day on average â€” the lowest in two years. However, with a surge in cases of an Omicron subvariant in China, South Korea, Vietnam, France and Germany, many people have raised concerns, asking the Indian government to put curbs on international flights from these countries.
As the number of COVID cases in India is declining, the Home Ministry has announced the end of all COVID-19 restrictions from 31 March, two years after they were implemented following the initial outbreak of the pandemic.
Nonetheless, the National Disaster Management Authority said people will have to wear face masks.
The federal ministry said the decision was made considering the overall improvement in the epdemiological situation.
"There will be no further need to invoke the Disaster Management Act for COVID containment measures," Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said.
In the last two years, capacities have been developed for various aspects of management of the pandemic, such as diagnostics, surveillance, contact tracing, treatment, vaccination, hospital infrastructure, Bhalla said.
"Also, people now have a much higher level of awareness about COVID-appropriate behaviour," Bhalla added.
Addressing possible restrictions again in future if the situation gets worse, the federal Home Secretary said: "Whenever any surge in the number of cases is observed, States and Union Territories may consider taking prompt and proactive action at the local level, as advised by the Ministry of Health from time to time."
India's vaccination campaign has been going strong, with over 188 million people vaccinated by Wednesday.
As per the guidelines, schools, offices, commercial outlets, and shopping malls can now operate in standard capacity. During the COVID pandemic, these were either made to conduct their business online, closed or allowed to run at half capacity in the country.
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