Cuttack: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines today, for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones. The guidelines will come into effect from June 1, 2020, and will be effective till June 30, 2020. The current phase of re-opening, Unlock 1, will have an economic focus.
The MHA order of March 24, 2020, imposed a strict lockdown throughout the country. Only essential activities were permitted. All other activities were prohibited. Subsequently, in a graded manner and keeping the overarching objective of containing the spread of COVID-19 in view, the lockdown measures have been relaxed.
New guidelines have been issued today based on extensive consultations held with States and UTs.
Salient features of the new guidelines
- All activities that were prohibited earlier will be opened up in areas outside Containment Zones in a phased manner, with the stipulation of following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to be prescribed by the Health Ministry:
- In Phase-I, religious places and places of worship for the public; hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality services; and shopping malls; will be permitted to open from June 8, 2020. Health Ministry will issue SOPs for the above activities, in consultation with the Central Ministries/ Departments concerned and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19.
- In Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions, etc., will be opened after consultations with States and UTs. State Governments/ UT administrations are being advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in the month of July 2020. MoHFW will prepare SOP for these institutions.
- Only a limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country. These activities are International air travel of passengers; operation of Metro Rail; cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations.
- In Phase III, the dates for their opening will be decided based on an assessment of the situation.
- Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones. These will be demarcated by the State/ UT Governments, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry.
- Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.
Unrestricted movement of persons and goods :
- There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.
- However, if a State/ UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate the movement of persons, it will give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movement, and the related procedures to be followed.
Night curfew :
Night Curfew shall continue to remain in force, on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities. However, the revised timings of the curfew will be from 9 pm to 5 am.
National Directives for COVID-19 management :
National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensuring social distancing.
States to decide on activities outside Containment Zones :
States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
Protection for vulnerable persons :
Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.
Use of Aarogya Setu :
The Aarogya Setu mobile application is a powerful tool built by the 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 ensuring safety, various authorities are advised to encourage the use of the application.