The Indian government on Sunday decided to extend the lockdown for fourth time till 31st May to curb the spread of corona virus (COVID19) across the country. In a tweet, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) says, its new guidelines issued for the Lockdown 4 have given considerable relaxation in the restrictions and state governments are permitted to decide various zones as per parameters shared by the union health ministry.
In a statement, the MHA says, “A limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country. These include all domestic and international air travel of passengers. While the MAH has directed the states to decide the zones—red, green and orange — it says the “zones can be a district, or a municipal corporation or municipality or even smaller administrative units such as sub-divisions, as decided by states and union territories (UTs).”
While there are different relaxations for different zones, certain countrywide prohibitions have been put in place irrespective of the zones. “All domestic and international air travel, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes or purposes as permitted by MHA will be barred,” MHA says in its guidelines. The Metro rail services, which were supported by the Delhi government, will also be banned as per the MHA.
“Schools, colleges, educational training and coaching institutions will remain closed. Online distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.”
The MHA said hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, except those meant for housing government officials, healthcare workers and stranded persons including tourists and for quarantine facilities and running of canteens at bus depots, railway stations and airports restaurants shall be permitted to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.
“All cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls, sports complexes and stadiums will be permitted to open, however, spectators will not be allowed.”
The MHA also barred all social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other gatherings and large congregations.
“All religious places or places of worship shall be closed for the public. Religious congregations are strictly prohibited.”
While it put a complete ban on the above activities, it gave a number of relaxations across the country except in the containment zones. The MHA allowed the inter-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses, “with mutual consent of the states and UTs involved”. It also allowed the intra-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses, as decided by states and UTs.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24th March had declared a 21-day countrywide lockdown for the first time to break the chain of transmission of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The restriction was extended on 14th April for another 17 days. This was again extended by two weeks till 17th May.
Earlier on Tuesday, while announcing the Rs20 lakh crore package to build a self-reliant India and to overcome the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the PM had hinted at Lockdown 4 and possible relaxations. He had said, “Lockdown 4 will be different and have new rules. We have been receiving proposals from several states, and would announce the details on lockdown on before 18 May 2020.”