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Home COVID-19 COVID-19: Wearing masks in public places mandatory, spitting a punishable offence, says...

COVID-19: Wearing masks in public places mandatory, spitting a punishable offence, says Home Ministry

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The Ministry issues a set of national directives on management of pandemic

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued national directives on management of COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, according to which “wearing of face covers and masks is compulsory in public places and work places.” Spitting is a punishable offence.

The standard operating procedure (SOP) for factories and office establishments that will be allowed to operate during the lockdown period says medical insurance is to be made mandatory for workers.

As per the SOP, the work units should encourage use of staircase, stagger work hours to ensure social distancing and ban entry of non-essential visitors.

According to the revised guidelines issued by the MHA, travel by air, rail, metro, public buses, taxis and cab aggregators remains suspended. Cinema halls and malls will remain shut. All social/religious gatherings are prohibited till May 3 and all industrial and commercial units, unless exempted, will remain shut.

Services provided by electrician, plumber, IT repairs, motor mechanics and carpenters are allowed.

The order issued by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla says States will decide the additional public activities to be allowed from April 20. Additional facilities will have to be based on strict compliance with the existing guidelines on lockdown measures.

The lockdown was extended till May 3 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To “mitigate hardships” faced by people during the extended lockdown, certain additional activities are to be allowed from April 20.

The first set of such guidelines to be followed by States for “containment of COVID-19 epidemic” in the country was issued on March 24 under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, invoked for the first time in the country

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