India To Reopen In Phases; Containment Zones To Remain On Lockdown To Curb Covid-19 Spread
The Ministry of Home Affairs today announced that activities in all areas apart from containment zones would be allowed to resume in phases starting June 8. This brings to an end the over two-month nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19.
In containment zones, which are areas where infections are concentrated, the lockdown has been extended till June 30, according to a statement issued by the Home Ministry.
The phased restart of activities will begin with shopping malls, places of worship, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services. This will take place after the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issues standard operating procedures for the activities in consultation with the central ministries and other stakeholders.
In the second phase, schools, colleges, and other educational institutions will be allowed to open after consultations with states and union territories. The final decision on this phase will be taken in July and will be based on consultation with parents and other stakeholders.
Finally, in the third phase, international air travel, metro rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, theatres, and bars will be allowed to operate. Additionally, social functions, political events, sports, and other activities that involve large gatherings of people will be allowed. However, the dates for this phase will be determined based on an ongoing assessment of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lockdown Continues In Containment Zones
Severe restrictions are set to continue in containment zones till June 30, with only essential services allowed. The Home Ministry, in its order, said that containment zones will be demarcated by district authorities after taking into consideration of existing guidelines.
Strict perimeter control will be ensured in these zones and no movement of people in or out will be allowed, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.
Further, the Home Ministry has said there will be intensive contact tracing when infections are reported, along with house-to-house surveillance and other clinical interventions.
States and union territories will be allowed to identify buffer zones outside containment zones, where new cases are more likely to occur, and restrictions can be prescribed accordingly, according to the ministry’s statement. Also, based on their assessment of the situation, states can prohibit certain activities outside the containment zones, or impose restrictions as they see fit.
Other relaxations include
- Movement of individuals to now remain strictly prohibited between 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. throughout the country, except for essential activities.
- No restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons or goods. No separate permission/approval/e-permit required.
However, the Home Ministry added that, if a state or union territory proposes to regulate movement of persons, it will have to publicise this in advance.
Directives for Covid-19 management include:
- Individuals must maintain a distance of 6 feet in public places. Shops not allowed more than 5 persons at a time.
- Wearing face masks compulsory in public places, workplaces and during transport.
- Consumption of liquor, paan, tobacco, etc prohibited in public places
- Spitting in public places punishable with fine as prescribed by State/UT local authorities.
- Large gathering and congregations continue to remain prohibited. In marriage related gathering, the number of guests cannot exceed more than 50. In funeral or last rites, not more than 20 persons are allowed.