As lockdown 4.0 comes to an end on May 31, here’s what the next phase could entail.

What lockdown 50 could look likeImage for representation/PTI
Coronavirus Lockdown Saturday, May 30, 2020 - 13:14

As the fourth phase of the lockdown comes to an end on May 31, several reports on Saturday speculated what the fifth phase of the lockdown could look like. Home Minister Amit Shah had telephonic conversations with all the chief ministers to discuss the same on Friday.

The Centre and state governments have been relaxing restrictions with each extension after the lockdown was first announced from March 25. Lockdown 5.0 could see further easing. According to multiple reports, the strictest curbs in the next lockdown are likely to be restricted only to 13 cities which account for 70% of COVID-19 cases in India: Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata/Howrah, Indore, Jaipur and Jodhpur, Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur.

In other places, according to The Hindu, while places of worship may be allowed to open, malls and restaurants may not have the same fate. However, according to Indian Expressmalls, multiplexes, and dine-in restaurants could also be given the green light. Gyms and movie theatres will likely remain shut.

Curfew timings could also be relaxed in areas other than containment zones.

Air travel may be opened up further in more routes. While domestic air travel has been allowed on some routes in India since May 25 at 33% capacity in airplanes, many flights were cancelled due to dearth of passengers and confusion over state SOPs.

While Shramik trains to ferry migrant workers to their home states have been operational, 200 trains will partially resume services from June 1, a communication on May 20 had revealed. The bookings for these trains have begun too.

In terms of public transport, more states could allow intra-state buses after June 1. States will have to decide on inter-state travel. However, metro trains may still not become operational as most pass through containment zones and due to their centralized air conditioning system that could be conducive to spreading SARS-CoV-2.

Physical distancing is going to be a must in public transports that are allowed to function, an official told ET. The official added that there were also discussions to avoid using the word ‘lockdown’ from hereon.

While shops selling non-essentials were allowed to open in the present phase of the lockdown and will continue to be, schools, colleges and other educational institutions are likely to remain shut. Some states like Andhra Pradesh have announced reopening of schools from August 3 with new guidelines such as fever checks for students and mandatory usage of masks and gloves. Board examinations for class 10 and 12 were already conducted.

Importantly, state governments will have further autonomy in implementing Home Ministry’s guidelines, and could make them more stringent if required. 

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