The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday issued a clarification on the consolidated revised guidelines for the nationwide lockdown. In a letter addressed to the Chief Secretaries of all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla revealed that some queries had been received pertaining to the services and activities permitted under the lockdown. First, he specified that the Social Sector under clause 8(i) included attendants and caregivers of senior citizens staying in their homes.
Bhalla also mentioned that recharge facilities for prepaid mobile connections came under the Public utilities clause. Furthermore, he added that the 'Supply of essential goods' clause implied that even food processing units such as bread factories, milk processing plants, flour mills, etc. in urban areas were allowed to operate. At the same time, the MHA made it clear that the SOP for social distancing must be observed in the aforesaid exempted services.
In response to queries, it is clarified that specific services/activities below have already been exempted from #lockdown measures to fight #COVID19— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 21, 2020
●Caregivers of senior citizens residing with them
●Prepaid mobile recharge utilities
●Food processing units in urban areas pic.twitter.com/8Kiro1881p
Currently, there are 18985 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in India out of which 3260 persons have recovered while 603 casualties have been reported. Addressing a press briefing earlier in the day, Lav Aggarwal- the Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health said that 1336 fresh novel coronavirus cases were reported in the last 24 hours. In the same period, 705 persons have recovered, which is the highest for any day so far. India's COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 17.48%. Moreover, he stated that there were 61 districts in India which had not reported a single case in the last 14 days.
Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research has directed the state governments to not use the rapid testing kits for the next two days. This development comes after various states complained about the accuracy of the aforesaid kits. Dr.Raman Gangakhedkar- the head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR conceded that there was a significant variation in the positive RT-PCR samples.