Covid-19 lockdown: What are red, orange and green zones and how will they impact life
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a discussion with chief ministers on extension of 21-day lockdown, which is scheduled to end on April 14. The lockdown was imposed on March 25, a day after PM Modi addressed the nation on coronavirus pandemic.
During the four-hour-long discussion, PM Modi said that India will have to strike a balance between “jaan” (lives) and “jahan” (the outside world) - a sign that the restrictions will continue in some form to preserve lives as it enforces social distancing.
A top government official said that the PM’s formulation meant that the government may move towards a “smart lockdown” - with severe restrictions in affected districts, and partial lifting of restrictions in unaffected districts, along with the opening up of some sectors to meet the economic challenge. A second official said that the government was also considering demarcating the country into three zones - red, yellow and green - depending on the scale of the Covid-19 outbreak.
So what are these zones, and how will they impact the economic activity in the country:
Red Zone: According to news agency PTI, no activity will be allowed in the red zone - the districts where sizeable number of cases were detected or areas which were declared hotspots.
Orange Zone: Minimum activities like opening of limited public transport, harvesting of farm products will be allowed in orange zones where only few cases have been found in the past, PTI reported.
Green Zone: It will see further relaxation. Some MSME industries falling under the green zone will be allowed to function with in-house lodging facilities for employees with proper maintenance of social distance, according to PTI.
For the government, both at the central and state level, the situation clearly has posed a difficult choice. The demands of public health - which dictate that an extension of the lockdown is the best way to control the spread of the disease - and the demands of the economy - which is in crisis with supply and demand shocks, closure of factory plants, business becoming unviable, loss of jobs and incomes - have to be reconciled.
It is understood that while senior officials are in agreement on the importance of the lockdown to save Indian lives, they also want economic activity to be revived, as ports are jammed with containers and major port cities such as Mumbai and Chennai are hit by the pandemic.