Central Govt. extends lockdown for two weeks
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the lockdown period across the nation for two more weeks. A press release by the Ministry stated, “After a comprehensive review, MHA and Government of India has issued an Order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to further extend the lockdown for a further period of two weeks beyond May 4, 2020.”
MHA also issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period, based on the risk profiling of the districts of the country into Red (hotspot), Orange, and Green zones. The guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in the districts falling in the Green and Orange zones.
Districts with either zero confirmed cases till date; or, no confirmed case in the last 21 days will be classified as Green Zone.
The Red Zones will be classified by taking into account the total number of active cases, doubling rate of confirmed cases, the 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 Ministry also stated that the classification of districts into Red, Green, and Orange Zones will be shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) with the States and Union Territories (UTs) regularly. While States and UTs can include additional districts as Red and Orange Zones, they will not be able to lower the classification of a district included by MoHFW in the list of Red or Orange Zones.
Nation-wide prohibited activities:
Travel by air, rail, metro, and inter-State movement by road.
The functioning 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.
The guidelines also state that :
Movement of persons by air, rail, and road is allowed for select purposes, and for purposes as permitted by MHA.
Movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am.
In all zones, 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 precautions. However, these will not be permitted within the Containment Zones.
Plying of cycle rickshaws and auto-rickshaws; running of taxis and cab aggregators; intra-district and inter-district plying of buses; and, barbershops, spas, and saloons are prohibited in Red Zones.
Activities allowed during the extended period
Activities that are allowed outside the containment zones are:
Movement of individuals and vehicles is allowed only for permitted activities, with a maximum of 2 persons (besides the driver) in four-wheeler vehicles, and with no pillion rider in the case of two-wheelers.
Industrial activities like manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw material, and intermediates jute industry with staggered shifts and social distancing; and, manufacturing units of packaging material.
Construction activities in urban areas have been limited to in-situ construction.
Shops in urban areas, for non-essential goods, are not allowed in malls, markets, and market complexes. However, all standalone (single) shops, neighborhood (colony) shops, and shops in residential complexes are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential.
Private offices can operate with up to 33% strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home.
All Government offices shall function with senior officers of the level of Deputy Secretary and above at full strength, and the remaining staff attending up to 33% as per requirement. However, Defense and Security services, Health and Family Welfare, Police, Prisons, Home Guards, Civil Defence, Fire and Emergency Services, Disaster management and related services, National Informatics Centre (NIC), Customs, Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuvak Kendra (NYK) and Municipal services shall function without any restrictions; delivery of public services shall be ensured and necessary staff will be deployed for such purpose.
Industrial and construction activities in rural areas, including MNREGA, works, food-processing units, and brick-kilns are permitted. In rural areas, without distinction to the nature of goods, all shops, except in shopping malls are permitted.
All agriculture and animal husbandry activities, including inland and marine fishing.
All plantation activities including their processing and marketing.
All health services (including AYUSH), including transport of medical personnel and patients through air ambulances.
Banks, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), insurance and capital market activities, and credit co-operative societies.
Operation of homes for children, senior citizens, destitute, women and widows, etc.; and operation of Anganwadis. Public utilities like power supply, water, sanitation, waste management, telecommunications, and the internet.
Courier and postal services.
Commercial and private establishments like print and electronic media, IT and IT-enabled services, data, and call centres.
Cold storage and warehousing services, private security and facility management services, and services provided by self-employed persons, except for barbers etc.,
Orange Zone :
In addition to activities permitted in the Red Zone, taxis and cab aggregators will be permitted with 1 driver and 1 passenger.
Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities.
Four wheeler vehicles will have a maximum of two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.
Green Zone :
All activities are permitted except the limited number of activities that are prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone. However buses can operate with up to 50% seating capacity and bus depots can operate with up to 50% capacity.
The release also mentioned that “No separate/ fresh permissions will be required from authorities for activities already permitted to operate under the guidelines on Lockdown measures up to May 3, 2020. The Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) issued by MHA will continue to operate such as transit arrangement for foreign national(s) in India; release of quarantine persons; movement of stranded labour within States/ UTs; sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers, movement of stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons by road and rail. State/ UT Governments are mandated to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.”
In Tamilnadu, 12 districts have been identified as Red zones, 24 districts as Orange zones and 1 district as Green zone, by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.