NEW DELHI: A "limited" lockdown which includes suspension of air, train and inter-state road travel will continue to remain in force for two more weeks from May 4 across the country, but some activities would be allowed after classifications of districts into 'Red', 'Orange' and 'Green' zones based on COVID-19 risk profiling, the government announced on Friday.
Educational institutions; all social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings; hospitality services; and religious places or places of worship for public will also remain shut across the country, a central government order said and added that movement of persons by air, rail and road would be allowed for select purposes as permitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Citing a letter issued by the Union Health Ministry on Thursday, the Union Home Ministry said in a statement that activities as per the classification of 'Red', 'Orange' and 'Green' zones will be permitted but a "limited" number of activities shall remain closed across the country.
According to the health ministry, there are 130 'Red' zones in the country with maximum of 19 in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 14 in Maharashtra in the country. The number of 'Orange' Zone is 284 and 'Green' is 319. All the districts of the national capital have been put under 'Red' zone.
A district will be considered as a 'Green' zone if there are no confirmed cases so far or there is no reported case for the past 21 days. The MHA statement said the restrictions were extended partially after a comprehensive review and in view of the lockdown measures having led to significant gains in the COVID-19 situation in the country.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India has risen to 35,365 with 1,152 deaths. The home ministry also issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period, based on the risk profiling of the districts of the country into new zones with 'Red' signifying a hotspot.
The statement said that the Union Health Ministry would be sharing classification of districts into zones to the states and union territories on weekly basis.
The statement said that outside the containment zone falling within Red zones, certain activities are prohibited in addition to those prohibited throughout the country which includes 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.
However, some activities have been allowed in the Red Zones with restrictions that includes movement of individuals and vehicles is allowed only for permitted activities, with a maximum of two persons (besides the driver) in four-wheeler vehicles, and with no pillion rider in the case of two-wheelers.
Industrial establishments in urban areas including Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Export Oriented Units (EOUs), industrial estates and industrial townships with access control have been permitted.
Construction activities in urban areas have been limited to in-situ construction (where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside) and construction of renewable energy projects.
Shops in urban areas, for non-essential goods, are not allowed in malls, markets and market complexes. However, all standalone (single) shops, neighbourhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential.
Anything in a market in red zone will be shut. Has to be stand alone shop. In orange and green shops allowed in markets (except malls). E-Commerce activities in the Red Zones are permitted only in respect of essential goods and private offices can operate with up to 33 per cent strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home.
All government offices shall function with senior officers of the level of Deputy Secretary and above at full strength, and the remaining staff attending up to 33 per cent as per requirement.
Most of the commercial and private establishments have been allowed in the Red Zones which includes 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.
The statement said that the Orange Zones, in addition to activities permitted in Red Zone, taxis and cab aggregators will be permitted with one driver and one passenger only. 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. In the Green Zones, all activities are permitted except the limited number of activities which are prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone. However buses can operate with up to 50 per cent seating capacity and bus depots can operate with up to 50 per cent capacity.
Schools, colleges, educational, training, coaching institutions and hospitality services including hotels and restaurants to remain close during lockdown. Places of large gatherings such as cinema halls, malls, gyms and places of political, cultural gatherings to remain shut.
Religious places and places of worship will also remain shut. Movement of individuals for all non-essential activities shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm and 7 am during lockdown. Local authorities shall issue orders under appropriate provisions of law, such as prohibitory orders [curfew] under Section 144 of CrPC, for this purpose, and ensure strict compliance.
In all COVID-19 zones, people above 65, those with co-morbidities, pregnant women, children below age of 10 to stay at home, except for essential works. OPDs, medical clinics shall be permitted to operate in red, orange and green zones with social distancing norms during lockdown.
In red zones and outside containment areas plying of cycle-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, taxis, opening of barber shops, spas, salons prohibited. In red zones movement of individuals, vehicles allowed only for permitted activities during lockdown and a maximum of 2 persons, besides driver, in four wheelers, no pillion rider on two wheelers.
The home ministry said 'Aarogya Setu' app must for people living in COVID-19 containment zones. Sale of liquor, paan, tobacco to be allowed after ensuring minimum six-feet social distancing; not over 5 persons at one time at shop. These shops should not be located in markets and malls in urban areas. However, consumption of liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc, is not allowed in public places during lockdown.
The home ministry said the containment zones shall be demarcated within Red (Hotspots) and Orange Zones by States and UTS and District Administrations based on the guidelines of the health ministry.
The boundary of the Containment Zone shall be defined by District Administrations taking into account the following factors: mapping of cases and contacts; geographical dispersion of cases and contacts; area with well demarcated perimeter; and enforceability.
The boundary of the Containment Zone will be a residential colony, mohalla, municipal ward, municipal zone, Police Station area, towns etc., in case of urban areas; and, a village, cluster of villages, Gram Panchayats, group of Police Stations, blocks etc., in case of rural areas.
Protocol within Containment Zones
Intensive surveillance mechanism as outlined in the Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) issued by the health ministry is to be established within the Containment Zone.
The local authority shall ensure 100 per cent coverage of Aarogya Setu app among the residents of Containment Zones.
Wearing of face cover is compulsory in all public and work places and adequate stock of such face covers shall be made available.
No separate or fresh permissions are required from authorities for activities already permitted to operate under the guidelines on Lockdown measures up to May 3.
Marriages related gatherings shall ensure social distancing, and the maximum number of guests allowed shall not be more than 50.
Last rites related gatherings shall ensure social distancing, and the maximum numbers allowed shall not be more than 20.
Spitting in public places shall be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed by the State and UT local authority.
Those who refuse to comply with any direction with regards to the lockdown guidelines can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.
If such obstruction or refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.
Whoever knowingly makes a claim which he knows or has reason to believe to be false for obtaining any relief, assistance, repair, reconstruction or other benefits can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with fine, the order said.