Panchayats tasked with COVID-19 containment efforts

Faced with yet another surge in COVID-19 cases, the government has provided local bodies a greater role in the containment efforts.

The Department of Panchayats has issued guidelines for the functioning of grama panchayat-level and ward-level committees. The department directed grama panchayats that have not formed ward-level committees to complete the process immediately. Strict action must be taken against those founding to violate the COVID-19 protocol.

The government instructed local bodies to seek the assistance of the police to ensure adherence to the prescribed norms in schools, cinema theatres, malls, auditoriums, and markets. Participation in wedding ceremonies, funerals, public functions, and other gatherings must remain within the limits permitted by the government. The grama panchayat and ward-level committees must adopt necessary steps to alert the police and sectoral magistrate if any violation is detected.

Local bodies have also been tasked with intensive containment efforts in association with the police in containment and micro-containment zones that witnessed spikes in COVID-19 cases. Symptomatic migrant labourers must be subjected to RT-PCR tests in the event of a COVID-19 spread in labour camps.

Geo-mapping must be undertaken with the assistance of health care workers in those areas that witnessed a rapid spread of the disease. People who tested positive for the disease in densely populated areas must be shifted to COVID-19 first-line treatment centres or COVID-19 hospitals.

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