As the total number of novel coronavirus cases crossed 90,000 on Sunday, the Ministry of Home Affairs revealed the guidelines surrounding the fourth phase of lockdown that will come into effect from May 18. The lockdown has been extended till May 31.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier indicated that the fourth phase of lockdown would be different from its predecessors, and this does seem to be true.
In Lockdown 4.0, the States and Union Territories can decide on the classification of red orange and green zones. As the MHA order puts it, "The delineation of Red, Green and Orange Zones will be decided by the respective State and UT Governments, after taking into consideration the parameters shared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare."
What is not allowed across India?
Travel restrictions will continue to remain in place for Lockdown 4.0. All domestic and international air travel of passengers, except for those related to medical requirements and for security purposes, will continue to remain halted, as will services such as metro rails.
Schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc. will remain closed. Similar to the earlier phases, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services too will remain shut -- unless they are being used to house officials, healthcare workers, stranded individuals and the like. Restaurants will however be permitted to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.
Public spaces including cinema halls, shopping malls. gymnasiums. swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls will remain shut.
Sports complexes and stadiums will be permitted to open. However, spectators will not be allowed.
According to the MHA guidelines, all social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ other gatherings and large congregations will not be allowed. All religious places and places of worship shall be closed for public and religious congregations continue to be prohibited.
All other activities will be permitted, except those which are specifically prohibited. States/ UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain other activities in the various zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
What will be allowed in all areas except containment zones?
According to the MHA guidelines, the following activities shall be permitted with restrictions, except in the Containment Zones:
1. Inter-State movement of passenger vehicles and buses, with mutual consent of the State(s)/ UT(s) involved.
2. Intra-State movement of passenger vehicles and buses, as decided by the States and UTs.
3. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for movement of persons, shall continue to operate.
What is allowed in the containment zones?
In the containment zones, only essential activities are to be allowed.
"There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services," the MHA guidelines said.
There will be a night curfew, and movement of individuals shall remain strictly prohibited between 7.00 pm to 7.00 am, except for essential activities. "Local authorities shall issue orders, in the entire area of their jurisdiction, under appropriate provisions of law."
In the Containment Zones, there shall be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions, as required. Additionally, people above 65 years of age, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.