Industries operating in rural areas to reopen on April 20

GS Paper III

Topic: Indian Economy

Mains: Lockdown guidelines

What’s the News?

Wearing face covers and masks is now compulsory in public places and workplaces, spitting in public is a punishable offence and selling liquor, gutka and tobacco is strictly prohibited.

Directives issued by ministry of home affairs:

Rural areas:

  • All industries operating in rural areas and the government’s flagship rural jobs scheme will also be allowed to reopen from April 20 if they follow social distancing norms and other safeguards against the COVID-19 infection.
  • The lockdown is scheduled to end on May 3.
  • People violating quarantine will be punished under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, which prescribes six months imprisonment, if convicted.
  • In the case of containment zones or hotspots, there will be a strict perimeter control.
  • The State governments may impose stricter measures as per requirement in local areas.
  • Apart from rural industries, the guidelines permit the construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings and industrial projects in rural areas. Construction of renewable energy projects will be allowed.

Urban areas:

  • In urban areas, only in situ construction projects will be allowed if workers are available on site. Brick kilns in rural areas can resume work.
  • The States will decide the additional public activities to be allowed from April 20.
  • They will have to be based on strict compliance with the existing guidelines on lockdown measures.
  • The relaxations will be implemented at the discretion of the State and district authorities in areas that have not been identified as infection hotspots or containment zones.

Workplace curbs:

  • Workplaces should have a gap of one hour between shifts, and lunch breaks should be staggered to ensure social distancing. All organisations should sanitise workplaces between shifts.
  • Frequent cleaning of common surfaces and handwashing is mandatory. Thermal screening of all those entering and leaving the work premises is mandatory and a list of COVID-19 dedicated hospitals in the vicinity should be available at the workplace, states the SOP.
  • Work units should encourage the use of staircases, stagger work hours to ensure social distancing and ban the entry of non-essential visitors.
  • Travel by air, rail, metro, public buses, taxis, cab aggregators will remain suspended. Cinema halls, malls will remain shut.

Revised guidelines: 

  • Supply chain of essential goods, grocery stores, vegetable, fruit carts and e-commerce companies will be allowed to operate without time restrictions.
  • In addition to pharmaceuticals and other essential sectors such as agriculture, mining and fertilizers, which are already exempted from the lockdown, several new industries will be permitted to function from April 20.
  • IT and IT enabled services will be allowed to operate at 50% strength, while IT hardware manufacturing has been added to the list of exemptions.
  • E-commerce companies, oil and gas exploration and refineries, food processing in rural areas and jute industries will be allowed to restart work, following a stringent operating procedure designed to deter the spread of infection.

Conclusion:

  • Transport of goods has been a major hurdle over the last two weeks with the initial guidelines allowing transport of essential goods only.
  • The new guidelines make it clear that all goods traffic will be allowed to ply.
  • Truck repair shops and dhabas on highways will be allowed to function. E-commerce and courier services can also be restarted.
  • All health services, including the manufacture of ambulances and operation of utilities providing telecommunication and Internet services, will be allowed.

Approval to use plasma enrichment technique

GS Paper III

Topic: Science and technology

Prelims: Plasma Enrichment Therapy

What’s the News?

  • Delhi has been given the go-ahead to use plasma enrichment technique on a trial basis to save the lives of critical COVID-19 patients.
  • The Maharashtra state government has started the plasma enrichment therapy, on a trial basis, to cure the critically infected patients of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Background:

  • At present there are no specific antiviral agents which have been found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19.
  • Convalescent plasma therapy is not new and has been used by doctors to treat critically ill patients during earlier epidemics too, during H1N1, SARS and Ebola.
  • When reports that HIV antivirals (lopinavir/ritonavir) might be potentially useful in treating COVID-19 patients, then too Kerala had sought ICMR’s early clearance for the protocol in January itself.

Coronavirus: Stages of a pandemic

  • First stage: In the first stage of a disease cases of an epidemic are imported into a country in which the infection did not originate and it eventually takes the form of a pandemic sweeping the globe.
  • Second stage: The second stage is when the virus starts being transmitted locally.

Local transmission means that the source of the infection is from within a particular area and the trajectory the virus has taken from one person to the next is clearly established.

  • Third stage: The third stage is that of community transmission which means that the virus is now circulating in the community, and can infect people with no history either of travel to affected areas or of contact with an infected person.
  • If and when community transmission happens, there might arise the need for a full lockdown because in that situation it is theoretically possible for every person, regardless of where they are from and who they have been in contact with, to spread the disease.
  • Fourth stage: from pandemic to endemic It is when the disease, COVID-19 in this case, becomes endemic in some countries.

Plasma Enrichment Therapy:

  • The plasma enrichment therapy is a much speculated answer to the COVID-19 problem.
  • The therapy involves taking plasma from the blood of a COVID-19 cured patient and injecting it into the blood of the COVID-19 infected patients.
  • This boosts the antibodies in the blood of the COVID-19 infected patient, which could recover the patient from COVID-19 infection within 7 days.