Coronavirus Pandemic has affected India greatly with total cases now standing at 1.82 Lakh and the death toll reaching 5000. The Indian Government is enforcing a series of measures over the past few months such as nationwide restriction and closing down on non-essential services like restaurants and bars. The authorities recently relaxed the restrictions under lockdown 4.0 and now issues a new set of guidelines. The guidelines from the Central Government regard to the re-opening of all activities outside the defined containment zones for the next month.
The Central Government issued new guidelines regarding the reopening in three phases, with the 1st phase allowing the opening of hotels, shopping malls, and religious places. Night curfew will be relaxed with timings being changed from 7 pm- 7 am to 9 pm - 5 am. The Government has given freedom for the State government to implement suitable restrictions on the allowed activities as they see fit in the prevailing situation of Coronavirus outbreak. Apart from the guidelines, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will be issuing a standard operating procedure for all these permitted activities.
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Let us now lay focus on what these different phases are all about.
According to the Government guidelines, Phase 1 will allow reopening of restricted activities like religious places, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, and shopping malls from June 8.
Schools, colleges, educational/training/coaching institutions will be allowed to open in Phase 2 after due consultation with the state and Union Territories. A confirmed decision of reopening of educational institutions will be taken in July.
Phase 3 will be about the reopening of restricted activities in August. International air travel, metro operations, cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls will be closed for now. All events and large congregations, other activities like social, political, entertainment, sports, academic, cultural or religious functions, will remain closed till the 3rd phase.
Unrestricted Public Movement:
The Central Government has currently allowed for unrestricted movement of persons and goods inter and intra-state. Further, the Government added, “no separate permission/approval or e-permit will be required for such movements”. However, the states have the freedom to decide regarding the movement of persons depending upon “reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation.”
The movement of passenger trains and Shramik special trains, domestic air travel and movement of Indian nationals stranded outside the country will continue without any restrictions. The Indian Government will continue with the evacuation of foreign nationals, and sign-on and sign-off Indian seafarers as per the Standard Operating Procedures Under the new guidelines, no State or Union Territory would cease the movement of any type of goods/cargo for cross land-border trade.
Night curfew will be enforced from 9 pm to 5 am, except for essential activities. “Local authorities shall issue orders in the area of their jurisdiction, under appropriate provisions of law, Section 144 of CrPC, and ensure strict compliance,” the central order stated. As of yesterday, the curfew timings were from 7 pm to 7 am.
Lockdown restrictions will continue unabated in the containment zones till June 30. Essential Services will continue in all the containment zones till June 30 within States and Union Territories.
Citizens above 65 years of age, persons with existing health situations, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are currently advised to stay at home.