Lockdown extended by two more weeks from May 4
The lockdown in India has been further extended by two more weeks, according to a Ministry of Home Affairs order issued on Friday. The lockdown will now last until May 17. India has been under lockdown since March 25. Earlier on April 14, the lockdown was extended till May 3. With the latest extension, India will effectively be locked down for nearly two months.
The Home Ministry order, issued under the Disaster Management Act (2005), extended the lockdown "for a further period of two weeks beyond May 4, 2020." The order noted that guidelines issued by the Centre have allowed "considerable relaxations" in the districts falling in green and orange zones during the extended lockdown. The classification of districts into red/orange/green zones will be reviewed weekly.
Ministry of Home Affairs issues order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to further extend the Lockdown for a further period of two weeks beyond May 4: MHA pic.twitter.com/Cw4bkdMTFU— ANI (@ANI) May 1, 2020
The Health Ministry has categorized the 733 districts in India into three categories: 130 districts have been marked under the red zone, 284 districts in the orange zone, and 319 in the green zone. The Home Ministry on Friday also allowed the special trains to ferry those stranded via trains, addressing one of the major issues caused by the lockdown.
The "lockdown 3.0" will be enforced under revised guidelines. For instance, in containment zones, local authorities have been asked to ensure 100% coverage of the Aarogya Setu app. All activities in containment zones, barring medical emergencies, and maintenance of supply of essential goods and services, will remain restricted. These zones would also have intensified surveillance protocols, with contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, home/institutional quarantining, etc.
Districts that have one or more Municipal Corporations (MCs) within their boundaries can be classified into two zones: one area falling under the MC boundary, and the second zone covering the area outside of it.
"If the area outside the boundary of the MC(s) has reported no case for the last 21 days, it will be allowed to be classified as one stage lower than the overall classification of the district as either Red/Orange." "Hence, this area will be classified as Orange, in case the district is overall Red; or as Green, in case the district is overall Orange."
Certain activities will remain shut across India, irrespective of which zone the area lies under. These include travel by air, rail, metro, and inter-state movement by road. "Movement of persons by air, rail and road is allowed for select purposes, and for purposes as permitted by MHA," the guidelines stated. Schools, colleges, and other educational and training/coaching institutions will continue to remain shut.
Other activities that will remain suspended pan-India include hospitality services, including hotels and restaurants; places of large public gatherings, such as cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes; social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings; and, religious places/places of worship for the public.
The movement of individuals for all non-essential activities is prohibited from 7 pm to 7 am. Local authorities have been directed to enforce this curfew with "strict compliance." In all zones, persons aged over 65, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women, and children under the age of 10, shall stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.
In orange zones, taxi/cab aggregators are permitted with one driver and one passenger only. Four-wheelers can have up to two passengers besides the driver. Pillion riding is barred for two-wheelers. Inter-district movement is allowed for permitted activities only. In red zones lying outside of containment zones, cycle/auto rickshaws; taxi and cab aggregators; intra-district and inter-district buses; barbershops, spas, and salons are not permitted.
The guidelines state, "In green zones, 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% capacity and bus depots can operate with up to 50% capacity."
Liquor stores paan shops will be allowed to function in green zones while ensuring minimum six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) from each other ensuring that not more 5 persons are present at one time at the shop: MHA on the extension of #lockdown for two weeks from May 4— ANI (@ANI) May 1, 2020
The guidelines stated, "All other activities will be permitted activities, which are not specifically prohibited." States/union territories have been awarded freedom to disallow some of these activities, if necessary. States/UTs, however, shall not dilute these guidelines. Notably, operations of Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) and medical clinics is permitted in red, orange, and green zones, but not in containment zones. All goods traffic is permitted.
E-commerce activities are allowed in the red zones for essential goods only. Industrial establishments in urban areas, i.e., Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Export Oriented Units (EOUs), industrial estates and industrial townships with access control have been permitted. Shops in urban areas, for non-essential goods, are not allowed in malls, markets, and market complexes. Standalone and neighborhood shops are allowed.
Private offices can operate with up to 33% strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home. Most commercial and private establishments—including IT and IT-enabled services, print/electronic media, data and call centers, etc.—have been allowed in red zones.