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MHA guidelines: Mandatory face cover, fine for spitting, medical insurance for workers

The MHA directives also include instructions for temperature screening at all workplaces, as well as a separate directive for social distancing in the work place.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi | Updated: April 15, 2020 6:51:46 pm
mha, mha guidelines, mha lockdown guidelines, home ministry lockdown guidelines, coronavirus lockdown, india lockdown, coronavirus india cases, coronavirus latest news Mask Faced Rickshaw pullers wait for passengers at North Kolkata during a government imposed nationwide lockdown to fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Kolkata on April 14, 2020. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday issued “National Directives” for COVID-19 management which includes wearing a face cover at all times in work and public spaces, as well as a fine for those found spitting in public spaces. The guidelines issued by the MHA will be enforced by district magistrates across the country through fines and penal action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

The directives also include instructions for temperature screening at all workplaces, as well as a separate directive for social distancing in the work place. The MHA has also issued an Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for social distancing for “offices, workspaces, factories and establishments”.

In public spaces, the national directives state that wearing a face cover is now compulsory in all public and office spaces and gatherings such as marriages or funerals shall remain regulated by the District Magistrate. “Spitting in public spaces shall be punishable with fine”, and “there should be a strict ban on the sale of liquor,gutka, tobacco etc and spitting should be strictly prohibited.” Follow Coronavirus LIVE news Updates

The national directives for work spaces  asks for adequate arrangements for temperature screening and sanitisers, and a one hour gap between shifts and staggered lunch breaks. “Persons above 65 years of age and persons with co-morbidities and parents of children below the age of 5 may be encouraged to work from home,” they say.

The directives also prohibit large meetings, ask for sanitisation between shifts, and push the use of Aarogya Setu for all employees in the private as well as the public sector. In manufacturing establishments, the guidelines mandate “frequent cleaning” of common surfaces and hand washing, and reiterate no overlap of shifts and staggered lunch breaks.

The government has also said all areas at work spaces, especially the entrance gate, cafeteria, meeting rooms and conference halls etc, equipment and lifts, toilets and water points and walls and other surfaces should be disinfected.

“For workers coming from outside, special transportation facility will be arranged without dependency on public transport, and these vehicles should only be allowed to work at 30-40 percent capacity.”

The directives also make mandatory medical insurance for workers, and mandatory thermal scanning of anyone leaving or entering the building. “Large gatherings or meetings of 10 or more people to be discouraged, Seating at least 6 feet away from others on job sites and in gatherings, meetings and training sessions,” and not more than 2-4 people, depending on the size, will be allowed to use elevators at once. The directives mandate that hospitals or clinics, which are authorized to treat COVID in nearby areas should be identified, and lists should be made available at all times.
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