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Some easing of restrictions allowed, except in Containment Zones
New Delhi, May 17, 2020
The Central Government today extended the nationwide lockdown, in place since March 25 to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, by another two weeks upto May 31 with some easing of restrictions, except in the Containment Zones.
Activities that will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country include air travel for passengers, metro rail services, schools and colleges, hotels and restaurants, cinema halls, shopping malls, social, political, entertainment and religious gatherings.
Restaurants shall be permitted to be operate kitchens for home delivery of food items. Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open, but spectators will not be allowed.
Inter-State and Intra-State movement of passenger vehicles and buses with restrictions are among the activities that will be permitted.
The lockdown had initially been imposed for three weeks until April 14, then extended for 19 days until May 3, and again extended for two weeks until today.
The latest extension has been made through an order by the Union Home Secretary, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the National Executive Committee (NEC), on the basis of an order issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, directing him that the lockdown measures be continued to be implemented in all parts of the country for a further period up to May 31.
Under the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs today, along with the order, the following activities shall continue to remain prohibited throughout the country:
-- All domestic and international air travel of passengers, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulances and for security purposes or purposes as permitted by MHA.
-- Metro rail services
-- Schools, colleges, educational/training/coaching institutions, etc, will remain closed. Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.
-- Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, except those meant for housing health/ police/ Government officials/ healthcare workers/ stranded persons, including tourists, and for quarantine facilities; and running of canteens at bus depots and railway stations and airports. Restaurants shall be permitted 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 and similar places. Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open; however, spectators will not be allowed.
-- All social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ other gatherings and large congregations.
-- All religious places/ places of worship shall be closedd for public. Religious congregations are strictly prohibited.
The following activities shall be permitted with restrictions, except in the Containment Zones:
-- Inter-State movement of passenger vehicles and buses, with mutual consent of the State(s)/UT(s) involved.
-- Intra-State movement of passenger vehicles and buses, as decided by the States and UTs.
-- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for movement of persons shall continue to operate.
The National Directives for COVID-19 Management, as specified by the Ministry, shall be followed throughout the country.
The delineation of Red, Green and Orange Zones will be decided by the respective State and UT Governments, after taking into consideration the parameters shared by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India (Gol).
Within the Red and Orange Zones, Containment Zones and Buffer Zones will be demarcated by the District authorities, after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW.
In the Containment Zones, only essential activities shall be allowed. There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services. Guidelines of MoHFW shall be taken into consideration for the above purpose.
In the Containment Zones, there shall be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions, as required.
The movement of individuals shall remain strictly prohibited between 7.00 pm to 7.00 am, except for essential activities. Local authorities shall issue orders, in the entire area of their jurisdiction, under appropriate provisions of law, such as prohibitory orders (Curfew) under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), and ensure strict compliance.
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 essential and health purposes.
All other activities will be permitted, except those which are specifically prohibited.
However, in Containment Zones, only essential activities shall be allowed as mentioned above.
Further, States/ UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain other activities in the various zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
The guidelines said the Aarogya Setu app enables early identification of potential risk of infection, and thus acts as a shield for individuals and the community.
"With a view to ensuring safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should ensure that Aarogya Setu is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones," they said.
District authorities may advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app. This will facilitate timely provision of medical attention to those individuals who are at risk, they said.
The guidelines said that all States/ UTS shall allow inter-State and intra-State movement of medical professionals, nurses and para medical staff, sanitation personnel and ambulances, without any restriction.
All States/ UTS shall allow inter-State movement of all types of goods/ cargo, including empty trucks.
The guidelines said no State/UT shall stop the movement of any type of goods/ cargo for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries.
State/ UT Governments shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner. All the District Magistrates shall strictly enforce the above measures, the order said.
In order to implement these measures, the District Magistrates will deploy Executive Magistrates as Incident Commanders in the respective local jurisdictions. The Incident Commander will be responsible for the overall implementation of these measures in their respective jurisdictions.
Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and other legal provisions as applicable.