India sees highest spike in cases, total reaches 1,251

Work From Home, Get Essential Items Delivered, Advises MHA

24 March 2020


New Delhi:  The Home Ministry Tuesday asked people to encourage home delivery of essential items and adopt the work from home policy across the government and the private sector.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement for three weeks nationwide lockdown from Tuesday midnight, the Home Ministry released detailed guidelines on the measures to be taken central and state level to contain Covid-19 epidemic.

All shops selling essentials -- such as grocery, milk, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, as well as chemists, ATMs, banks, gas, petrol pumps etc -- to remain open during 21 days lockdown, it said.

The Centre has decided to close down all its and state governments' offices, public corporations with exception of the police, utilities, fire and emergency services, prisons, and municipal bodies. "Hospitals and all related medical establishments, including their manufacturing and distribution units - both in public and private sector such as dispensaries, chemists, medical equipment shops, laboratories, clinics, ambulance etc. will continue to remain functional," said the guidelines.

The Home Ministry also said the commercial and private establishments will be closed down with exception of shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths etc. "However, district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals outside their homes," it said.

It also emphasised on adopting work-from-home policy across government and the private sector. "All transport services - air, rail, roadways - will remain suspended; hospitality services to remain suspended; and all educational, training, research, coaching institutions etc shall remain closed," said the guidelines. Although, exception has been made for home stays, lodges, motels and establishments used for quarantine facilities.

The ministry said all places of worship will also be closed for public and in case of funerals, not more than 20 people will be permitted. "In order to implement these containment measures, the District Magistrate will deploy Executive Magistrates as Incident Commanders in the respective local jurisdictions. The Incident Commander will be responsible for the overall implementation of these measures in their respective jurisdictions", said the ministry. Also, the Incident Commander will issue passes for enabling movement.

"Any person violating these containment measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act 2005, besides legal action under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code," said the ministry.