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COVID-19 'Unlock 3.0': Gyms allowed to reopen but schools, metro, cinema to remain shut till August 31

After extensive consultation with states and union territories, it has been decided that schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till August 31, the Union Home Ministry said.

Published: 29th July 2020 08:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2020 11:31 PM   |  A+A-

Health Workers checking people door to door to prevent the Covid infection at Chintadripet, in Chennai on Wednesday. (Photo | R Sathish Babu, EPS)

Health workers checking people door to door to prevent the Covid infection at Chintadripet, in Chennai on Wednesday. (Photo | R Satish Babu, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday issued guidelines for Unlock 3, which will begin from August 1, allowing a few more activities and dropping night curfew--restrictions on movement of individuals during night. Gymnasiums and Yoga institutes, which have been shut for over four months, will be allowed to open from August 5, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced, adding that Standard Operating Procedure for the same will be issued by the Health Ministry.

Independence Day functions will be allowed with social distancing and by following other health protocols, e.g., wearing of masks etc. International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission. “Further opening-up will take place in a calibrated manner,” MHA’s order stated.

School, colleges, coaching institutions will continue to remain shut till August 31. The lockdown shall, however, continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till August 31, 2020 and only essential services will be allowed in the containment zones.

Places of crowd gatherings such as cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums and assembly halls will continue to remain shut during the month-long Unlock-3 period, according to MHA guidelines. Cinema owners had made a representation to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry requesting cinema halls be reopened and I&B ministry recommended to MHA that halls be reopened with limited seating capacity. However, the MHA decided against it as coronavirus cases continue to increase.

Metro rail services and gatherings of all kinds—social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and large congregations will remain banned. Notably, a Bhoomi pujan ceremony for Ram temple is planned at Ayodhya for August 5. Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on August 5, according to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the president of the temple trust.

The construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya will begin after the ceremony to lay the foundation stone, which chief ministers of many states, ministers from the union cabinet and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat are likely to attend. An MHA spokesperson did not respond when asked if the Ram Mandir Trust has sought specific exemptions for the event and if they have been granted.

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The use of Aarogya Setu application will continue to be encouraged. The ministry said the new guidelines are based on feedback from the states and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related central ministries and departments. The state governments can prohibit certain activities outside the containment zones as deemed necessary, MHA added.

Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed. “These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs and information will also be shared with MOHFW,” the MHA order stated.

Vulnerable persons, i.e., people above 65 years of age, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, have been advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

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