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Centre revokes NDMA provisions for Covid19 restrictions after two years: Face mask and social distancing to continue

The National Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Home Affairs, on Wednesday 23 March, revoked the provisions of the Disaster Management Act for Covid-19 containment measures. However, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) advisories on COVID containment measures like using face masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing would still remain in action. The provisions are to be revoked from March 31.

Since March 24 2020, the Centre Government had issued orders and guidelines in tandem with the provisions under Disaster Management Act, 2005, to contain the unprecedented global crisis of Covid-19. On Wednesday, in communication with all Chief Secretaries of all the states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla notified that after the expiration of the previous Ministry of Home Affairs Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-1 (A) dated 25 February, 2022, no further orders may be issued by the MHA.

According to the communication issued, the revocation was issued taking into consideration the overall improvement of the situation nationwide, and also looking at the preparedness of the Government to contain and deal with the pandemic. The official letter said that in the previous 2 years (of the enactment of NDMA provisions), “significant capacities have been developed for various aspects of management of the pandemic, such as diagnostics, surveillance, contact tracing, treatment and vaccination, hospital infrastructure and the general public has much higher level of awareness on the COVID appropriate behaviour”.

Furthermore, it was advised that all States and Union Territories may take prompt and proactive action at local levels, under the MoHFW gudelines if there were any surge in cases. “However, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare advisories on COVID containment measures, including on the use of face mask and hand hygiene, will continue to guide the overall national response to the pandemic,” the letter said.

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