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New Delhi, June 29, 2020
The Government today announced new guidelines for phase two of Unlock -- a phased relaxation of the lockdown that had been imposed from March 25 to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with all activities permitted outside containment zones, except those specifically not allowed.
The lockdown in the Containment Zones has been extended till July 31, an order issued by the Union Home Secretary, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Executive Committee, said.
The order has been issued on the directions of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which has directed the Home Secretary to issue an order to reopen more activities in a calibrated manner in areas outside the Containment Zones and to extend the lockdown in Containment Zones till July 31.
Guidelines issued along with the order said the activities which are not allowed include schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions, which will remain closed till July 31, while online/distance learning shall continue to permitted and encouraged.
However, training institutions of the Central and State Governments will be allowed to function from July 15, for which Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the Department of Personnel & Training.
International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), metro rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will also continue to be closed.
Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions and other large congregations also shall remain closed.
Dates for re-starting such activities may be decided separately and necessary SOPs shall be issued for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19, an official press release said.
Domestic flights and passenger trains have already been allowed in a limited manner. Their operations will be further expanded in a calibrated manner, it said.
As far as night curfew is concerned, the order said the movement of individuals shall remain strictly prohibited between 10 pm and 5 am throughout the country, except for essential activities, including operation of industrial units in multiple shifts, movement of persons and goods on National and State Highways, loading and unloading of cargo and travel of persons to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and airplanes.
Local authorities shall issue orders, in the entire area of their jurisdiction, under appropriate provisions of law, such as under Section 144 of CrPC, and ensure strict compliance.
The order said the National Directives for COVID-19 Management shall continue to be followed throughout the country.
Containment Zones will be demarcated by the District authorities after taking into consideration the guidelines of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites by the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTS and information will be shared with MOHFW.
In the Containment Zones, only essential activities will 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. In the Containment Zones, there shall be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions, as required. Guidelines of MoHFW shall be effectively implemented for the above purpose.
Activities in the Containment Zones shall be monitored strictly by the State/ Union Territory (UT) authorities, and the guidelines relating to containment measures in these zones shall be strictly implemented.
States/UTS may also identify Buffer Zones outside the Containment Zones, where new cases are more likely to occur. Within the buffer zones, restrictions as considered necessary may be put in place by the District authorities.
IStates/UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
However, there shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods including those for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements, the order said.
Movement of persons by passenger trains and Shramik special trains; domestic passenger air travel; movement of Indian Nationals stranded outside the country and of specified Imagepersons to travel abroad; evacuation of foreign nationals; and sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers will continue to be regulated as per SOPs issued.
Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.
Noting that the app Aarogya Setu enables early identification of potential risk of infection, and thus acts as a shield for individuals and the community, the guidelines said that, 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.
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.
The guidelines said 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.
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 Section188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable.
The release said the new guidelines are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments.