No restriction on movement of people and goods under new Covid guidelines: MHA

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There will be no restriction on the inter-state and intra-state movement of people and goods across India along with cross land-border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) announced on Tuesday as a part of its fresh guidelines to ‘effectively control’ the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease pandemic amid a recent surge in cases. The guidelines are in place from April 1 to April 30.

The MHA said that no separate permission or approval or e-permit will be needed for all such kinds of movements. This latest directive comes at a time when several states such as Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan etc have imposed border restrictions due to the recent surge in their Covid disease cases.

Apart from border restrictions, states have made Covid-19 RT-PCR test mandatory for people coming from the worst-affected states. For example, the Karnataka government on Monday made it mandatory for all travellers arriving from Punjab and Chandigarh to produce a negative RT-PCR test report which is not older than 72 hours before entering the state. The same provision was earlier imposed for those coming into Karnataka from Kerala and Maharashtra.

Also Read| Focus on Covid-19 test-track-treat, may impose district-level lockdown: Centre

Madhya Pradesh on March 15 made it mandatory for all air travellers from Maharashtra to produce a negative test report before entering Bhopal and Indore, which are the worst-hit districts. For those entering Bhopal, the test report should not be older than 72 hours while authorities in Indore demand a report not older than 48 hours.

People arriving into Rajasthan from Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will have to produce a negative test report not older than 72 hours, the chief minister Ashok Gehlot-led government said on March 8.

The fresh guidelines of the home ministry stated that all states and Union Territories (UTs) may impose Covid-related restrictions at district, sub-district and city and ward level after carrying out an assessment of the overall situation.

States and UTs have been ordered to take all necessary precautions to control the spread of Covid-19 in all work and public places. “For strict enforcement of wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing, states and UTs may consider administrative actions, including the imposition of appropriate fines,” the order said.

They (States and UTs) are also required to strictly enforce the ‘Test- Track-Treat’ protocol in their respective regions along with ramping up the vaccination drive to cover all target groups, the guidelines added.

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