The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday extended the lockdown across the country for two more weeks, that is, till May 17. Earlier, the lockdown had been extended till May 3. The Ministry in a press statement said that after a comprehensive review, the government has issued an Order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to further extend the Lockdown for a further period of two weeks beyond May 4, 2020. This means the lockdown has been extended till May 17. India first went into lockdown from March 25.
The MHA has also issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period, based on the risk profiling of the districts of the country into red (hotspot), green and orange Zones. The guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in the districts falling in the green and orange zones.
The green zones will be districts with either zero confirmed cases till date; or, no confirmed case in the last 21 days. Red zones are districts that have a higher outbreak of cases. The total number of active cases, doubling rate of confirmed cases, extent of testing and surveillance feedback from the districts are also taken into account. Those districts, which are neither defined as red nor green shall be classified as orange zones.
The Centre earlier on Friday issued a list of districts classified into red, green and orange zones. This list is dynamic and will be reviewed on a weekly basis, or earlier, the Health Ministry had said. While States and UTs can include additional districts as red and orange Zones, they may not lower the classification of a district included by MoHFW in the list of red or orange zones.
What the new guidelines say
Travel by air, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road remains prohibited.
Schools, colleges, and other educational and training/ coaching institutions; hospitality services, including hotels and restaurants; places of large public gatherings, such as cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes etc; social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings; and, religious places/ places of worship for public will remain closed.
Movement of persons by air, rail and road is allowed for select purposes, and for purposes as permitted by MHA. Recently, MHA gave permission for stranded people to move.
Movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am.
In all zones, persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, shall stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.
Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) and Medical clinics shall be permitted to operate in red, orange and green Zones, with social distancing norms; however, these will not be permitted within the Containment Zones.
What is permitted in each zone:
Red zone: In the red zones, outside the containment zones, certain activities are prohibited in addition to those prohibited throughout the country. These are: Plying of cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws, running of taxis and cab aggregators, intra-district and inter-district plying of buses; and, barber shops, spas and salons. The movement of individuals and vehicles is allowed only for permitted activities, with a maximum of 2 persons (besides the driver) in four-wheeler vehicles, and with no pillion rider in the case of two-wheelers.
Manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates; production units, which require continuous process, and their supply chain; manufacturing of IT hardware; jute industry with staggered shifts and social distancing; and, manufacturing units of packaging material will be allowed.
All standalone (single) shops, neighborhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes, except malls and markets are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential. The rest of the lockdown rules will be extended.
Orange zone: In addition to the activities permitted in the red zone, taxis and cab aggregators will be permitted with 1 driver and 1 passenger only. Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities only. Four-wheeler vehicles will have maximum two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.
Green zone: All activities are permitted except the limited number of activities which are prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the zone. However buses can operate with up to 50% seating capacity and bus depots can operate with upto 50% capacity.