COVID-19: MHA extends nationwide lockdown till May 17

Shillong, May 1: The Ministry of Home Affairs, on Friday, announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown over COVID-19 Pandemic for another two weeks beyond May 4. MHA issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period, based on the risk profiling of the districts of the country into Red (hotspot), Green and Orange Zones.

The guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in the districts falling in the Green and Orange Zones. Except for East Khasi Hills, all the other 10 districts have been declared as Green Zone.

For areas in red and orange zones, the local authority will have to ensure 100% coverage of Aarogya Setu app among the residents of the Containment Zone. These zones will be required to intensify surveillance protocols.

“Strict perimeter control would need to be ensured, so that there is no movement of people in and out of these Zones, except for medical emergencies, and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services. No other activity is permitted within the Containment Zones,” the order read.  

The new guidelines also prescribe certain measures for well-being and safety of persons.  Hence, movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am. 

However, in all zones, 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 meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

In the Red Zones, outside the Containment Zones, certain activities are prohibited in addition to those prohibited throughout the country, including plying of cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws; running of taxis and cab aggregators; intra-district and inter-district plying of buses; and, barber shops, spas and saloons.

“Industrial establishments in urban areas, viz., Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Export Oriented Units (EOUs), industrial estates and industrial townships with access control have been permitted.   The other industrial activities permitted are manufacturing units of essential goods,” the order stated.

Standalone shops are permitted to remain open and E-commerce activities has been permitted only for essential items in red zones.  

“Private offices can operate with upto 33% … Government offices shall function with senior officers of the level of Deputy Secretary and above at full strength, and the remaining staff attending upto 33% as per requirement,” it said.

However, Defense and Security services, Health and Family Welfare, Police, Prisons, Home Guards, Civil Defence, Fire and Emergency Services, Disaster management and related services, National Informatics Centre (NIC), Customs, Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuvak Kendra (NYK) and Municipal services shall function without any restrictions; delivery of public services shall be ensured and necessary staff will be deployed for such purpose.

All industrial and construction activities in rural areas, including MNREGA works, food-processing units and brick-kilns are permitted. Agricultural activities, plantation activities and Animal husbandry activities are permitted.

Most commercial and private establishments have been allowed in the Red Zones. These include print and electronic media, IT and IT enabled services, data and call centres, cold storage and warehousing services, private security and facility management services, and services provided by self-employed persons, except for barbers.

Taxi and cab services will be permitted in Orange and Green Zones, however, only 2 passengers per cab will be allowed.

“Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities only. Four wheeler vehicles will have maximum two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers,” it said.

For Green Zonesall activities are permitted except the limited number of activities which are prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone. However buses can operate with upto 50% seating capacity and bus depots can operate with upto 50% capacity.

The center also informed that all goods traffic is to be permitted. “No State/ UT shall stop the movement of cargo for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighboring countries. No separate pass of any sort is needed for such movement, which is essential for maintaining the supply chain of goods and services across the country during the lockdown period,” the order stated.

The home ministry also added that states can permit certain activities based on their own assessment of the situation.   

“State/ UT Governments are mandated to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner,” the order added. 

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