Millennium Post

Govt extends lockdown till May 17

New Delhi: Spearheading the battle against COVID-19, the Centre on Friday announced a "limited" nationwide lockdown for another two weeks and allowed most of the necessary operations in Green, while selected in Orange zones and just a few in Red zone areas. With this, the lockdown will now continue till May 17 which was to end on May 3.

According to an MHA official, the decision in this regard was taken during a high-level meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday as India witnessed a resounding recovery rate of CVOVID-19 patients, which stood at 25.63 per cent.

As per the MHA order, activities like air travel, rail, metro and interstate movement by road, schools, colleges, and other educational and training hospitality services, cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes, etc will remain closed throughout the country, irrespective of the zone.

Interestingly, the government has allowed the opening of liquor, shops in Green zones with the condition to ensure a minimum six feet distance from each other with not more than 5 people at a time. Sale of paan, gutka, tobacco products has also been allowed in permitted zones.

The operation of app-based taxi services in areas under the Orange zone has also been allowed along with private vehicles for permitted activities in Red zones.

The Centre has made it a must for all the employees of private and public organisations to use Arogya Setu app apart from wearing a face mask.

The order further said that all social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings and religious places or places of worship for the public will remain closed, while movement of persons by air, rail and road is allowed for select purposes, and for purposes as permitted by the MHA.

The movement of individuals for all non-essential activities will allowed strictly between 7 am to 7 pm. In all zones, persons above 65 years, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below 10 years will have to stay at home.

In Red zones, the activities like cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws taxis, app-based taxi, barbershops, spas, salons, intra-district and inter-district buses will not be allowed.

However, movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed only for permitted activities and 4-wheeled vehicles will have maximum three passengers, including driver and no pillion rider is allowed on 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.

E-commerce activities in the Red Zones are permitted only in respect of essential goods and private offices can now operate with up to 33 per cent strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home.

All government offices will 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.

As per the MHA order, taxis and cab aggregators will be permitted with one driver and two passengers only in Orange zones, while the inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities only.

In the Green zones, all activities are permitted except the limited number of activities that are prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the zone.

However, buses and bus depots can operate with up to 50 per cent capacity.

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