COVID-19: Nationwide Lockdown Extended by 2 Weeks, Restrictions to Continue till May 17

The Central government announced to extend the nationwide lockdown for two more weeks that will start from May 4.

COVID-19: Nationwide Lockdown Extended by 2 Weeks, Restrictions to Continue till May 17
COVID-19: Nationwide Lockdown Extended by 2 Weeks, Restrictions to Continue till May 17

The nationwide lockdown has been extended by two more weeks and the third phase of lockdown will continue till May 17. The decision was announced through a government order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
"After a comprehensive review, and in view of the Lockdown measures having led to significant gains in the COVID-19 situation in the country, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) issued an Order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, today, to further extend the Lockdown for a further period of two weeks beyond May 4, 2020," the MHA order stated.

The MHA issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period, based on the risk profiling of the districts of the country into Red (hotspot), Green, and Orange Zones. The guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in the districts falling in the Green and Orange Zones.

The criteria for identification of districts as Red, Green, and Orange Zones have been spelled out in detail in the letter dated April 30, 2020, issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), GoI. The Green-Zones will be districts with either zero confirmed cases to date; or, no confirmed case in the last 21 days. The classification of districts as Red Zones will take into account the total number of active cases, doubling the rate of confirmed cases, the extent of testing, and surveillance feedback from the districts. Those districts, which are neither defined as Red nor Green, shall be classified as Orange zones. The classification of districts into Red, Green and Orange Zones will be shared by MoHFW with the States and Union Territories (UTs) on a weekly basis, or earlier, as required. While States and UTs can include additional districts as Red and Orange Zones, they may not lower the classification of a district included by MoHFW in the list of Red or Orange Zones.

In the Red Zones, outside the Containment Zones, certain activities are prohibited in addition to those prohibited throughout the country. These are: plying of cycle rickshaws and auto-rickshaws; running of taxis and cab aggregators; intra-district and inter-district plying of buses; and, barbershops, spas, and salons, the order stated.

In the Orange Zones, in addition to activities permitted in Red Zone, taxis and cab aggregators will be permitted with 1 driver and 1 passenger only. Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities only. Four wheeler vehicles will have a maximum of two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.

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 can operate with up to 50% seating capacity and bus depots can operate with up to 50% capacity.

State/ UT Governments are mandated to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner, the MHA order stated.

The latest Home Ministry order stated that schools, colleges, public transport, including trains, flights, and metro services, will remain suspended for the next two weeks across the country. Hotels, restaurants, gyms, cinema halls, shopping malls among all places of worship will stay closed for the next two weeks. Movement of individuals for all non-essential activities will be strictly prohibited between 7 am to 7 pm.

The first lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on March 24, which went on till April 14. The second round of lockdown, slated to end on May 3, began on April 15. Now it will be the third round of Lockdown which will continue till May 17.

India witnessed 1993 new Covid-19 cases and 73 deaths in the last 24 hours. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of coronavirus cases as on May 1 reached 35,365. This includes 25,148 active cases, 1,152 deaths, 9,064 cured and discharged patients, and 1 migrated patient. India saw 1,755 new COVID-19 cases and 77 deaths in the past 24 hours.