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Unlock 2: Night curfew timings relaxed; schools, colleges to remain closed till July 31

Unlock 2: Night curfew timings relaxed; schools, colleges to remain closed till July 31
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New Delhi: The government on Monday night issued guidelines for the month-long 'Unlock 2' — the "phased reopening" of activities that had been barred to contain the Coronavirus spread in the country — and said educational institutions, Metro Rail services, cinema halls and gyms will continue to remain closed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 4 pm on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued detailed guidelines that will be applicable from July 1 after the 'Unlock 1' phase ends on June 30. The fresh guidelines said schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till July 31.

According to the statement, night curfew timings have been relaxed and for big shops that are large enough, more than five people can enter at a time. Night curfew shall continue to remain in force but only between 10 pm and 5 am, except for essential activities and other relaxations. The earlier timings were from 9 pm to 5 am.

It added Metro Rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will also remain shut.

Similarly, social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other large congregations will continue to be disallowed.

"Dates for opening of these will be decided separately, based on the assessment of the situation," the Home ministry added.

Domestic and international (under the 'Vande Bharat' mission) flights and passenger trains, already operational in a limited manner, will be further expanded in a calibrated manner, it said.

The new guidelines, the ministry said, are based on feedback received from states and Union Territories and extensive consultations held with related Central ministries and departments.

"Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till July 31. These zones are required to be carefully demarcated by the state, UT governments with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare," it said.

Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed, the guidelines said.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu governments extended their statewide lockdown till July 31 as Coronavirus cases in the two cities touched a new high. Maharashtra's cases touched 164,626, while there are 82,275 cases in Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday extended the lockdown till July 31 in the state. The complete lockdown in force in Chennai, Madurai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts will continue till July 5. All Sundays in July (July 5, 12, 19 and 26) will be "complete lockdown" across the state.

The Nagaland Cabinet on Monday decided to extend the state's existing lockdown to July 15 to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, a single-day spike of 19,459 COVID-19 cases took India's tally to 5,48,318 on Monday, while the death toll climbed to 16,475 with 380 new fatalities, according to the Union Health ministry data. This is the sixth consecutive day that Coronavirus infections have increased by more than 15,000. The country has seen a surge of 3,57,783 infections from June 1 till date.

The number of active cases stands at 2,10,120, while 3,21,722 people have recovered.

The gap between recoveries and active cases is 1,11,602 as of Monday, with the recovery rate now at 58.67 per cent, the ministry said. A total of 12,010 COVID-19 patients have been cured since Sunday.

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