Covid-19 lockdown 3.0: India’s national lockdown extended again. All you need to know
The Centre on Friday extended the nationwide lockdown, which is in place since March 24 due to Covid-19 pandemic, by two more weeks while profiling the districts into red, green and orange zones. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued fresh guidelines as well in this regard to all the states and union territories permitting considerable relaxations in the districts falling in green zones.
The red zones have been categorized as hotspots by the government where other than essential activities no other activity will be allowed.
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According to a press statement by ministry of home affairs, 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, ministry of home affairs (MHA) issued an order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, today, to further extend the Lockdown for a further period of two weeks beyond May 4, 2020,” it stated.
The criteria for identification of districts as red, green and orange Zones have been spelt out by health ministry on Thursday.
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 MoHFW 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 MoHFW in the list of Red or Orange Zones,” MHA 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.
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 [curfew] under Section 144 of CrPC, for this purpose, and ensure strict compliance.
“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 safety precautions; however, these will not be permitted within the containment zones,” it said.