Bihar extends Covid-19 lockdown: What’s allowed and what’s not
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar announced on Thursday that a state-wide lockdown, in effect since May 5 to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), is being extended by 10 days, till May 25. Originally scheduled to end on Saturday, the lockdown will enter extended phase from May 16 onwards.
The Bihar government has released guidelines that will be in effect during this 10-day period, according to news agency ANI. Here’s a look:
(1.) All state government offices will remain closed. However, essential services such as district administration, police, civil defence, water supply, sanitation, fire services, health, veterinary clinics, disaster management etc. shall be exempted from the purview of the lockdown.
(2.) With regards to judicial administration, decisions taken by the Bihar high court shall be applicable.
(3.) Shops and establishments -- commercial and private -- shall be closed. Exemptions include banking and insurance services, non-banking financial services, industrial and construction works, e-commerce, agriculture, print and electronic media, telecommunication, petrol and LPG filling stations etc.
(4.) Retail shops and fruit and vegetable shops can open in urban areas from 6am-10am, while in rural areas, these shall operate from 8am-12noon. Lockdown guidelines shall not be applicable on cold storage, ware-housing services and private security services.
(5.) Hospitals and related health facilities shall continue to function normally. However, all non-essential travel (including on foot) shall be completely prohibited.
(6.) No vehicular movement shall be allowed. However, public transportation services can operate at 50% passenger capacity. Only those who have to catch trains or board flights shall be all allowed to take public transport services.
(7.) Exemptions: Ambulances and vehicles involved in health services, private vehicles with e-pass issued by district administration, heavy goods vehicles, private vehicles in which passengers travelling to airports/railway stations (with valid tickets), heavy goods vehicles etc.
(8.) All schools, colleges, coaching institutions and other educational institutions to be closed, and no examinations shall be conducted. Restaurants and eateries shall be closed, with only home delivery permitted from 9am-9pm. “Dhabas” on national highways can open.
(9.) All religious places, cinema halls, malls, clubs, swimming pools, stadia, gyms, parks and gardens shall be closed. Also, all religious, political, entertainment, sports, educational, cultural and other events are disallowed.
(10.) Not more than 20 attendees are allowed at weddings or funerals. No DJs and “baraats” shall be allowed for weddings and the local police station shall have to be informed at least three days in advance.
Any violation of any of the aforementioned guidelines shall invite prosecution under the Disaster Management Act. According to a health department bulletin on May 12, Bihar’s Covid-19 tally stood at 622,433. This includes 519,306 recoveries, 99,623 active cases and 3,503 deaths.