India under lockdown till May 31

India under lockdown till May 31
The Union government on Sunday extended the lockdown till May 31

  • Offices, salons, barber shops, markets to open
  • Allows inter-state movement of buses
  • States to decide Red, Orange, Green Zones
  • Air travel, metro services to remain banned
  • Hotels, schools, colleges will remain shut

New Delhi: The Union government on Sunday extended the lockdown till May 31 but ended restrictions on employees returning to work at offices, factories and other industrial units, and allowed markets and shopping complexes to reopen as curbs were eased considerably outside coronavirus containment zones.

Air travel, metro rail services, restaurants, schools and colleges, however, will continue to remain shut throughout the country.

The Centre has also empowered the states to decide which district will fall under what zone -- Red, Green or Orange. While there are different relaxations for different zones, certain countrywide relaxations and prohibitions have been put in place irrespective of the zones.

Relaxations in lockdown guidelines will not apply to containment zones, the government said, adding that in these areas only essential activities and sale of essential goods will be allowed.

The MHA has allowed the inter-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses, "with mutual consent of the state(s)/UTs) involved". It also allowed the intra-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses, as decided by states and UTs.

In non-containment zones, local authorities must ensure shops open on staggered timing basis only, so as to ensure social distancing, the home ministry statement said. All shop owners must also ensure that customers maintain six feet distance and that not more than five people are allowed inside at any given time.

The night curfew, which restricts movement of people between 7 pm and 7 am, will continue. Also, people above 65 years of age, pregnant women and children below 10 years have been told to stay at home.

The state governments have also been authorised to decide the restrictions that should be placed in different zones. The state, however, cannot relax activities in containment zones. Here, the home ministry order said, only essential activities would be allowed. Activities that can lead to large gatherings will continue to stay banned, including hotels, restaurants, cinema halls, malls, swimming pools and gyms. "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," the guidelines said.

The Metro rail services, resumption of 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/ stranded persons and for quarantine facilities and running of canteens will be shut but will be allowed 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." The 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed from March 25 was to end on April 14. However, it was extended to May 3 and then to May 17. Now the National Disaster Management Authority has asked the states and Central government to continue the same till May 31.

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