A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of lockdown till May 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued consolidated revised guidelines on measures to be taken by Ministries and Departments of Government of India, state and Union Territory governments and authorities for the containment of COVID-19.
In the second phase of the lockdown, more stringent rules and regulations will be implemented. The Home Ministry has issued guidelines to be followed during the lockdown, whereby even in the midst of strict regulations, some relaxation have been made.
Home secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday wrote to all the states and union territories asking them to ensure strict compliance with the consolidated revised guidelines of the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
MHA issues revised consolidated guidelines on the lockdown measures to be taken by Ministries/Departments of Govt of India, State/UT governments & State/UT authorities for the containment of #COVID19 in India. pic.twitter.com/JzfgrsMw7j
— Northeast Live (@NELiveTV) April 15, 2020
Bhalla, in the letter, said that the State and Union Territory governments cannot dilute the restrictions imposed in the guidelines, but can enforce stricter norms.
No unchecked movement of people except for those maintaining essential services and providing medical care will be permitted from the COVID-19 ‘hotspot’ zones, according to the new lockdown guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The ministry emphasized that even the activities allowed under the new guidelines will not be permitted in the ‘hotspot’ zones, or the areas/clusters with high occurrence of COVID-19 cases.
The MHA in its lockdown guidelines has given detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for social distancing for offices, workplaces, factories and establishments.
The ministry has said that all areas in the premises including the following shall be disinfected completely using user-friendly disinfectant mediums. The MHA has also said that transportation will be provided by employers and should be allowed only with 30-40 per cent passengers in vehicles.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs in its revised guidelines listed the sectors and industries which will continue to function during the lockdown imposed to contain COVID-19.
The bank branches and ATMs, IT vendors for banking operations, banking correspondents, ATM operation and cash management agencies will remain functional under the monitoring of local authorities.
The Ministry has also given an exemption to several other services including all health services, all agriculture, horticulture activities, and MNREGA works.
The tea industry shall also be functional during this time period with only 50% attendance of workers. Agricultural workers will also be able to work in their fields and farms but they shall have to maintain the norms of social distancing.
The latest guidelines have made it clear cinema halls, gyms and malls are to remain closed. Schools and colleges will also remain shut during the lockdown period.
As per the guidelines, all domestic and international air travel of passengers, passenger movement by trains, buses for public transport, metro rail services will remain prohibited.
It stated that all educational, training, coaching institutions etc. shall remain closed.
Inter-district and inter-state movement of individuals except for medical reasons or for activities permitted under guidelines shall remain prohibited.
Also, all cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places shall remain closed.
All social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions, other gatherings will also not be allowed.
Religious gathering will also remain suspended. Local authorities in each state have to ensure social distancing norms.
The Centre will conduct a review of the lockdown on April 20 and decide if it is conducive to implement further relaxation of lockdown.