NEW DELHI: Industry body CII has urged its member companies in north India to not lower guard against COVID-19 and ensure that the prescribed norms of wearing masks, maintaining physical distance of at least 6 feet and avoiding large gatherings are followed.
With COVID-19 cases rising for the past few weeks at an unprecedented rate, the pandemic continues to pose hardship for the entire country, the chamber said in a statement on Sunday. Many states in northern India are experiencing probably the second or even the third wave of rise in infections and mortality.
It added that with the onset of winter, the problem is getting accentuated, especially for the vulnerable ones.
Observing that while pandemic fatigue is an expected and natural response to a prolonged public health crisis, the chamber said "we need to understand and keep in mind the repercussions of dropping our guard not only on the health and safety of those around us but also its impact on our work and everyday lives".
CII Northern Region chairman Nikhil Sawhney said, "As we can see some signs of a rebound in our economy, the least we would want now would be another spate of shutdowns or closing of our workplaces due to infections. Already, we are seeing that some of the states are again being forced to announce night curfews and restrictions on social gatherings which I would say are not good signs."
Sawhney has written to the industry in north India, urging them to not lower guard against COVID-19 and to ensure that the prescribed norms are followed. "We must also ensure that those around us, including family, friends and workforce also follow these rules at all times without fail. At the same time, in our offices, we need to maintain work from home policy for few more months," he said.
He highlighted that the government is committed to ensuring the availability of the vaccine and has stated that a definite process is underway for reaching it to the vulnerable sections of society.
In the light of this, it is essential for all industry members to be ready for a period of at least a year of continued vigil and precautionary measures for working towards containing disease prevalence, Sawhney said.
CII has prepared a detailed workplace protocol, which has been shared with the industry members to adhere to, including following work from home for all offices requiring non-contact activities, ensuring the fullest workplace safety measures where employees are required to be physically present, and conducting COVID testing of all employees and their families.
It also includes aggressively promoting awareness among employees' families and the larger community and relentlessly spreading the message of SMS -- sanitization and hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing.