New Delhi: The central government on Saturday issued new guidelines for phased re-opening of areas outside the COVID-19 containment zones easing lockdown rules.
Releasing the order, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the new guidelines will come into effect from June 1 and will be effective till June 30, 2020.
The current phase of re-opening, 'Unlock 1', will have an economic focus, the order read. State governments/Union Territory administrations, based on their assessment of the situation, can prohibit certain activities outside the containment zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
What's allowed and what's not
• Places of worship, hotels, restaurants, malls and other hospitality services will open from June 8.
• Movement of individuals shall remain strictly prohibited between 9pm to 5am throughout the country, except for essential activities.
• Schools, colleges, educational/ training/coaching institutions etc. will open after consultations with States and Union Territories (UT).
• State, UTs to hold consultations with parents, other stakeholders on re-opening of academic institutions from July.
• International air travel of passengers, operation of metro rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places, and social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other large congregations will remain prohibited until further notice.
1. No restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements. However, States/UTs, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, may regulate movement of persons.
2. Movement of passenger trains and Shramik special trains, domestic passenger air travel, movement of citizens stranded outside the country and of specified persons to travel abroad, evacuation of foreign nations, sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers will continue to be regulated as per existing procedures.
3. No States/UTs shall stop the movement of any type of goods or cargo.
Protection of vulnerable persons
Persons above 65-years old, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.
Lockdown limited to Containment Zones
Lockdown shall continue to remain in force in the Containment Zones till 30 June, 2020. Containment Zones will be demarcated by the District authorities after taking into consideration the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
• In the Containment Zones, only essential activities shall be allowed.
• There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.
• In the Containment Zones, there shell be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions, as required.
• States/ UTs may also identify Buffer Zones outside the Containment Zones, where new cases are more likely to occur. Within the buffer zones, restrictions as considered necessary may be put in place by the District authorities.
National directives for COVID-19 management
1. Face coverings: Wearing of face cover is compulsory in public places, in workplaces, and during transport.
2. Social distancing: Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places. Shops will ensure physical distancing among customers and will not allow more than 5 persons at one time.
3. Gatherings: Large public gatherings/congregations continue to remain prohibited. Marriage related gatherings Number of guests not to exceed 50. Funeral/ last rites related gatherings Number of persons not to exceed 20.
4. Spitting in public places will be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed by the State/ UT local authority in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations.
5. Consumption of liquor, man, gaga, tobacco akin public places is prohibited.
Additional directives for Work Places
6. Work from home (WFH): As far as possible the practice of WM should be followed
7. Staggering of work/ business hours will be followed in offices, work places, shops, markets and industrial & commercial establishments.
8. Screening & hygiene: Provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizer will be made at all entry and exit points and common areas.
9. Frequent sanitisation of entire workplace, common facilities and all points which come into human contact e.g. door handles etc, will be ensured, including between shifts.
10. Social distancing: All persons in charge of work places will ensure adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch breaks of staff, etc.
Lockdown extended in four states
Meanwhile, some states said they would extend the lockdown by 2-4 weeks to save the lives of the people, but also announced some relaxations to revive the economy.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced a four-week extension of the coronavirus lockdown in the state till June 30, saying the threat of COVID-19 was not over yet and he would continue with tough measures, if necessary, to save lives of the people. Singh, however, said his government will take into account the Centre's guidelines on the lockdown.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the lockdown in the state to contain coronavirus will be extended till June 15.
The West Bengal government extended the lockdown by two more weeks till June 15, but also announced some conditional relaxations June 1 onwards, including for allowing TV and cinema production activities.
In Mizoram also, the lockdown will continue for two more weeks to curtail the coronavirus spread, the state's health minister R Lalthangliana said.
Though Mizoram has no single active case as of now after its lone COVID-19 patient was discharged from hospital on May 9, the government wants to extend the lockdown to prevent the virus spread as cases are increasing in neighbouring states and stranded migrants are still returning to the state, he said.