The Centre on Saturday took an exit step from the 68-day nationwide lockdown, declaring that the restrictions will be limited only to containment zones up to June 30 and that the prohibited activities will be opened in a phased manner in areas outside these zones, allowing restaurants, malls, religious places and education sectors to open in a phased manner.
Applicable from Monday, June 1, the fresh order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spoke of the expanded fresh guidelines a day ahead of the end of lockdown 4.0.
“In exercise of powers under section 6 (2) (i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has directed the undersigned to issue an order to extend the lockdown in containment zones up to June 30, and reopen prohibited activities in a phased manner in areas outside the containment zones,” the order read.
“Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under section 10 (2)(l) of the Disaster Management Act 2005, it is directed that the guidelines will remain in force up to June 30. With effect from June 1 to June 30, the lockdown 5.0 will be limited only to containment zones and only a ‘limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country'”, it added.
As per the order, international air travel, operation of Metro Rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls, and political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions, and other large congregations will remain prohibited.
Based on extensive consultations held with the states and Union Territories (UTs), the guidelines have allowed all activities that were prohibited earlier in areas outside the containment zones in a phased manner, with the stipulation of following the standard operating procedures (SOPs), to be prescribed by the Health Ministry.
The Covid-19 pandemic has so far infected over 1.73 lakh people in India, claiming the lives of 4,971 people across the country.
During lockdown 5.0, in Phase I, religious places and places of worship, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, and shopping malls will be permitted to open from June 8. The Health Ministry will issue SOPs for the above activities, in consultation with the Central ministries, the concerned departments and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing.
In Phase II, schools, colleges, educational, training and coaching institutions will be opened after consultations with the states and UTs.
As per the MHA order, state governments and UT administrations have been advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in July.
In Phase III, dates for their opening will be decided based on the assessment of the situation.
The lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones. These will be demarcated by the state and UT governments, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry.
Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities will be allowed. There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods.
No separate permission, approval or e-permit will be required for such movements. However, if a state or UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate movement of persons, it will give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movements.
Night curfew shall continue to remain in force on the movement of individuals for all non-essential activities. However, the revised timings of the curfew will be from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the containment zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
Vulnerable persons such as persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes, the order said.