Lockdown extended till 17 May

JNS: The nationwide lockdown again extended till 17 May for battle against the deadly coronavirus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on March 24 announced the 21-days nationwide lockdown, due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Later, the 21-day nationwide lockdown extended till 3 May. The Central Government on 1 May extended the nationwide lockdown, by two more weeks (till 17 May), will be enforced more strongly during the next two weeks.

Though, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued fresh guidelines based on risk profiling of the districts of the country into Red (hotspot), Orange zones and Green zones. The districts of all the states and union territories permitted falling in green zone are permitted considerable relaxations during the lockdown 3.0.

Besides, essential activities no other activity will be allowed in the Red Zones.

According to a press statement issued by MHA, the decision to extend the lockdown beyond May 4 has been taken after a “comprehensive review”.

“After a comprehensive review, and in view of the Lockdown measures having led to significant gains in the COVID-19 situation in the country, MHA issued an order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, on 1 May, to further extend the Lockdown for a further period of two weeks beyond 4 May 2020,” it said.

The green zones will be districts with either zero confirmed cases till date or no confirmed case in the last 21 days. The classification of districts as red zones will take into account the total number of active cases, doubling rate of confirmed cases, extent of testing and surveillance feedback from the districts. Those districts, which are neither defined as red nor green, shall be classified as orange zones.

“The classification of districts into Red, Green and Orange Zones will be shared by Ministry of Health with the states and Union Territories (UTs) on a weekly basis, or earlier, as required. While States and UTs can include additional districts as Red and Orange Zones, they may not lower the classification of a district included by health ministry in the list of Red or Orange Zones,” it said.

The latest guidelines, according to the press statement, state that a limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the zone including travel by air, rail, metro and inter-State movement by road; running of 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, it reported.

However, movement of persons by air, rail and road is allowed for select purposes, and for purposes as permitted by the government. Officials familiar with the development said movement of persons through air and rail pertains to specific Covid-19 preparation relation activity.

The order by MHA also states that inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles in Orange zones will be allowed for permitted activities only. Bringing slight relaxation in vehicular movement, the order allows four-wheeler to have a maximum of 2 passengers besides the driver. Additionally, pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.

According to latest guidelines, which MHA said also prescribe certain measures for well being and safety of persons, movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am.

“Local authorities shall issue orders under appropriate provisions of law, such as prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC, for this purpose, and ensure strict compliance.

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 and other safety precautions; however, these will not be permitted within the containment zones,” it said.

The MHA has also issued a few mandatory directives such as:

Compulsorily wearing a face cover in all public places.

Ensuring no more than fifty guests are allowed in marriages related gatherings.

No more than 20 persons should gather for Funeral and last rites related gatherings.

Shops selling liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc. are required to ensure a minimum six feet distance from each other, and not more than 5 persons are present at one time at the shop.

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