The ministry said in case a new area is added to the list of containment zones in the country, the relaxed guidelines would be suspended in that area until it turns covid-19 free
New Delhi: The Union home ministry on Wednesday said select public activities would be allowed across states from 20 April. This comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced continuation of the national lockdown till 3 May.
A fresh set of guidelines, issued by the ministry on Wednesday, stated “these activities will be operationalised based on strict compliance to existing lockdown guidelines". States would be required to ensure that all precautions with regard to social distancing are followed.
The ministry said in case a new area is added to the list of containment zones in the country, the relaxed guidelines would be suspended in that area until it turns covid-19 free.
With the Union government now set to relax the lockdown in phases from 20 April, the home ministry said all domestic and international air travel and movement of passenger trains would remain suspended except for security purposes. All bus, taxi and metro train services will also remain suspended across the country till 3 May.
All hospitals, including dispensaries and pharmacies will remain functional, along with medical laboratories and veterinary clinics and manufacturing units of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Ban on large social and religious gatherings will continue, and places of worship and cinema halls will remain shut.
The ministry added that for hotspots – or large areas of covid-19 outbreak – the health ministry will define the extent of the containment zone, while no other activities will be permitted. “...strict perimeter control in the area will ensure there is no unchecked inward or outward movement except for maintaining essential services."
With the harvest of the Rabi crop on in full swing, the Centre has said all agricultural operations will remain fully functional, “including agencies engaged procurement of agricultural products, mandis, shops for agricultural machinery, manufacturing and retail of fertilizers and fisheries". Tea, coffee and rubber plantations could remain operational with a maximum of 50% worker strength, it added.
The financial sector will be made fully operational, with bank branches set to follow normal working hours. The local administration would be responsible for providing security personnel to maintain law and order and social distancing norms.
Continuing with the existing guidelines, the MHA has said all educational institutions will remain shut, but academic schedule for online teaching would continue. CNG and LPG operations will continue, as will the “transmission and distribution of power".
The Union home ministry, over the last two weeks, has repeatedly intervened to ensure a smooth supply-chain, instructing states to allow the operations of trucks and vehicles carrying essential and non-essential products. It has once again stated that “all facilities in the supply chain of essential goods, whether involved in manufacturing, wholesale or retail of such goods through local stores or e-commerce should be allowed to operate without any restriction on their timing of opening and closure," adding that state administration were required not to impose any restriction of timing on the operation and functioning of local grocery stores as well.
E-commerce firms and courier services are also being made operational from 20 April, along with services “provided by self-employed persons such as electricians, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics and carpenters."
However, the government stated that construction would be allowed within municipal corporations only if workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside.
Private vehicles will be allowed to ply in case of emergencies such as medical or veterinary care, with one passenger besides the driver permitted in cars. Defence and central armed police forces and the health and family welfare departments will now function without any restriction, officers below the rank of deputy secretary will operate at 33% attendance.
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