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Lockdown Extended By A Month In India, Issues New Guidelines On Inter-State Movement, Others

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Lockdown 5.0 Guidelines and Rules: From malls, hotels, and restaurants to places of worship, schools and colleges, all have been allowed to open in a phased manner over the next couple of months in India

The Centre on Saturday issued orders extending the nationwide lockdown for one more month beginning June 1, but has considerably eased restrictions outside of containment zones. From malls, hotels, and restaurants to places of worship, schools and colleges, all have been allowed to open in a phased manner over the next couple of months.

However, states will ultimately have the freedom to decide whether or not to open open them or put suitable restrictions if they deem it necessary for containment of coronavirus, the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

The guidelines also said that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) will issue a standard operating procedure for all these activities which are now being permitted.

According to the guidelines, night curfew shall remain in operation but its timings have been changed from the earlier 7 pm – 7 am to 9 pm – 5 am.

International air travel, Metro rail services prohibited

Some activities will, however, continue to remain prohibited, including “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”.

The MHA, however, said, “In Phase III, dates for their opening will be decided based on assessment of the situation.”

The Indian Express had on Saturday reported that malls, restaurants and religious places would open along with relaxation in night curfew in Lockdown 5.0.

“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,” the MHA guidelines said on Saturday.

Places of worship, hotels to open from June 8

According to the new guidelines, in Phase I, religious places and places of worship for 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,” MHA said.

Schools, colleges to open in phased manner

In Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and UTs, the guidelines added.

“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,” MHA said.

There will be a strict lockdown in containment zones though.

“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,” MHA has said.

Inter-state movement of persons, goods allowed but with a caveat

It has also reiterated that there would be unrestricted movement of persons and goods across inter-state borders.
“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,” MHA has said.

It has, however, given states the freedom to decide on public movement saying “if a State/ UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate 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.”

It has also advised the elderly, pregnant women and children to stay home even as it has suggested people increasingly use the Aarogya Setu App.

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