Coronavirus (COVID-19)ForumGovernance

Lockdown 4.0 begins with more relaxations; night curfew to continue

By Saket Suman

The fourth phase of lockdown (Lockdown 4.0) begins from May 18 and it will be in force till May 31. The lockdown comes with more relaxations and a new set of rules and guidelines, which gives more say to state governments in deciding what to open and what will remain prohibited.

In a virtual interaction with the prime minister held on May 11, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had suggested for the extending the lockdown till the end of this month.  Nitish Kumar wants lockdown to be extended till May 31 as Covid cases spike in Bihar

Now the shops and markets will open with staggered timings. However, night curfew will continue till the end of this month. This means movement of people for all non-essential activities will be prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs came out with new set of rules and regulations on May 17, the last day of Lockdown 3. India is under lockdown for nearly two months. The nationwide lockdown started on March 25. The first phase was for 21 days. However, it has been extended thrice.

Under the new guidelines, States and Union Territories (UTs) will now delineate Red, Green and Orange zones taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Health Ministry. The zones can be a district, or a municipal corporation/ municipality or even smaller administrative units such as sub-divisions, etc, as decided by States and UTs.

Within the red and orange zones, containment and buffer zones will be demarcated by the local authorities, after taking into consideration the Health Ministry guidelines.

Within the containment zones, only essential activities shall be allowed. Strict perimeter control shall be maintained, and no movement of persons would be allowed, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services. Buffer zones are areas adjoining each containment zone, where new cases are more likely to appear. In the buffer zones, more caution needs to be exercised, Union Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.

Under the new guidelines the following activities will remain prohibited throughout the country.

  • All domestic and international air travel of passengers, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes or purposes as permitted by MHA;
  • Metro rail services;
  • Running of schools, colleges, educational and training/coaching institutions;
  • Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, except for the running of canteens in bus depots, railway stations and airports;
  • Places of large public gatherings such as cinemas, shopping malls, gymnasiums entertainment parks, etc.;
  • Social, political, cultural and similar gatherings and other large congregations; and, access to religious places/places of worship for public.

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

Activities Permitted

Movement of Bus: Inter-State movement of vehicles and buses has also been allowed with mutual consent of the concerned States/ UTs. Intra-State movement of vehicles and buses can be decided by the States and UTs.

Online, distance learning shall be permitted and encouraged; and, restaurants will be allowed to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.

Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open only for sports activities. However, spectators will not be allowed in these complexes.

Local authorities should ensure that shops and markets open with staggered timings, so as to ensure social distancing. All shops shall also have to ensure six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) among customers and also not allow more than 5 persons at one time.

Activities permitted with restrictions

In order to facilitate the movement of persons, various modes of transport have already been opened up. Movement of individuals by trains has been permitted earlier by MHA through an order dated 11.05.2020. Further, evacuation of foreign nationals from India, return of stranded Indian nationals from abroad, sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers, and intra-State and inter-State movement of stranded persons by bus and train, will continue to be allowed, the statement said.

Aarogya Setu App

The Aarogya Setu mobile application is a powerful tool built by Government of India to facilitate quick identification of persons infected by COVID-19, or at risk of being infected, thus acting as a shield for individuals and the community. With a view to ensure safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should ensure that the application is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones.

District authorities have been asked to advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app. This will facilitate timely provision of medical attention to those individuals who are at risk. State/ UT Governments shall continue to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.

[starbox id = “Saket”]

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri

Gyanendra Kumar Keshri is consulting editor of BiharConnect. He has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism, having worked for diverse media streams in India and abroad.

Related Articles

Back to top button