On the basis of the advise by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the Union home ministry on Sunday extended the ongoing lockdown for another two weeks till May 31 to contain the spread of Covid-19.
This is the third extension to the lockdown, which was first imposed from March 25 and then extended from April 15 and May 4.
The new guidelines for Lockdown 4.0 issued by the MHA said that all states/UTs have been asked to ensure unrestricted inter-state and intra-state movement of medical professionals,nurses and paramedical staff along with sanitation personnel and ambulances. Inter-state movement of all types of goods/cargo is also to be allowed, including empty trucks.
The MHA has also clarified that states to make final call on passenger movement/zoning during. However it has now permitted inter-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses, provided that consent is given by all states/UTs involved. States/UTs have been given the authority to decide on the intra-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses.
The MHA has also transferred power to the states/UTs to delineate red, orange and green zones in accordance with the parameter issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Government of India.
Containment zones and buffer zones within red and orange zones will be demarcated by the district authorities. However, only essential activities will be permitted in containment zones that will also be subjected to intensive tracing, house-to-house surveillance and other clinical interventions.
Aa high-level meeting was held on Saturday to discuss Lockdown 4.0 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Among the people who were part of this discussion were Home Minister Amit Shah and senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs. All states and union territories were asked to submit their recommendations and requests to the Centre by Friday.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba will meet chief secretaries/DG's of all states/UTs via video conference at 9 pm today to discuss lockdown 4.0 guidelines.
NDMA, the apex disaster management body, in its recommendations to home ministry said, “Considering the fact that lockdown measures need to be implemented for a further period in the country to contain the spread of COVID 19, NDMA in exercise of its powers under the DM act, 2005, directs the ministeries, departments of GOI, States governments and authorities to continue the lockdown measures upto May 31.”
The MHA's guidelines for Lockdown 4.0 has prohibited activities like domestic/international air travel, metro rail services, schools/colleges and other educational institutions, hotels/restaurants and other hospitality services except for those housing emergency service workers or being used as quarantine facilities. Restaurants will be allowed to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.
In addition, all cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums and other places will remain closed. While sports complexes and stadiums have been allowed to reopen, no spectators will be permitted to enter these venues.
All social, political, entertainment, academic, cultural, sports and religious functions/gatherings also stand prohibited. Places of worship are to remain closed for the public.
During Lockdown 4.0, wearing face masks will be compulsory in all public and workplaces, social distancing has to be followed and spitting will attract fines. Wedding functions will be permitted with not more than 50 guests and only 20 people will be allowed to attend a funeral.
Shops have been directed to ensure a minimum of six feet distance among customers and to restrict more than five people inside a shop at one time.
Earlier,Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had extended the ongoing lockdown for another two weeks as the coronavirus cases across the country climbed to 90,927, and the death toll rose to 2,872.
The total confirmed COVID-19 cases in India currently stand at nearly 91,000, according to the Union Health Ministry. The death toll in the country due to the novel coronavirus outbreak has crossed 2,800.