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MHA extends lockdown till 31 May, allows states to decide on Covid-19 zones

A Kerala police person briefs migrant workers from northern states looking for information on the next train available for them to return to their villages in Kochi (AP)Premium
A Kerala police person briefs migrant workers from northern states looking for information on the next train available for them to return to their villages in Kochi (AP)

  • Under the guidelines, all domestic and international flights, metro services to remain prohibited except for domestic medical services, air ambulance and for security purposes
  • However, inter-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses, with mutual consent of the state(s)/UT(s) involved will be permitted, the ministry said in a statement

The Ministry of Home Affairs today issued fresh series of guidelines to the Ministries Departments of Government of India, State Governments and State Authorities for the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown in order to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The delineation of red, green, and orange zones will be decided by the respective state/union territory governments, after taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said MHA. Additionally, states can permit all other activities outside containment zones that are other than the limited number of activities prohibited nationally.

Under the guidelines, all domestic and international flights, metro services to remain prohibited except for domestic medical services, air ambulance and for security purposes as permitted by MHA.

National directives like night curfew and wearing face masks to be mandatory.

Schools, colleges, educational training, institutions, hotels, cinema halls will remain closed.

All social, political, religious functions, and places of worship to remain shut during extended lockdown till May 31, the ministry added.

Hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality services shall not be permitted. However, those operating kitchens foe home delivery of food items should be permitted.

However, inter-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses, with mutual consent of the state(s)/UT(s) involved will be permitted. Intra-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses, as decided by the states and UTs shall be allowed. These guidelines are functional in the fourth phase of the lockdown except in containment zones.

All shops, except those in containment zones and malls, will be allowed to open from Monday with staggered timings during lockdown 4.0

In containment zones, essential activities will be allowed, said MHA. "There will will 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," the ministry said in a statement. The Centre has stated that the curfew which was earlier observed from 7 pm to 7 am, wherein no movement was permitted, will continue to remain in force across the country.

While the Union government had earlier forbidden any non-essential movement in Red zones, it has now stated that within red and orange zones, “containment and buffer zones will be demarcated by the district authorities after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW."

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba will hold a video conference with states at 9.00 pm tonight for further elaboration of state-specific issues considering which states have to decide various zones and activities to be allowed in these zones.

The fourth extension of the lockdown, which was imposed by the government on 25 March, comes amid the Centre's push to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country. The third phase will end today, 17 May.

However, some states such as Maharashtra, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu have already extended the lockdown till 31 May owing to the increasing coronavirus cases and deaths there. Karnataka extended the lockdown for two more days with no relaxations from the third phase.

Earlier, in an address of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the nation on 12 May, 2020, Modi said that the fourth phase of the lockdown will be a "totally different lockdown," which will contain new rules based on the suggestions from the states. Consequently, a number of states submitted their suggestions to the Prime Minister over the days in order to help the ministry chart out the revised guidelines.

Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 90,927 while the death toll from Covid-19 has gone up to 2,872, according to the Sunday figures released by the Health Ministry today morning. In past 24 hours, 4,987 new cases, the highest one-day jump, and 120 deaths were reported.

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